After introducing non-returnable glass bottles for no-sugar variant Pepsi Black last year, PepsiCo India will from this month extend the same across its carbonated drinks portfolio, including for brands such as Mountain Dew, Pepsi, Mirinda, and 7up, in Maharashtra.
This is in addition to regular returnable glass and plastic bottles that already exist in PepsiCo's portfolio. But the latest move has significance since PepsiCo hopes to help consumers make the switch to environment-friendly packaging options as state governments increasingly clamp down on plastic consumption in the country.
The new pack, available in a 250-ml size for Rs 20, will retail in Maharashtra, where a plastic ban has been introduced since June. PepsiCo will also become the first national beverage company to extend non-returnable glass bottles across its soft drinks in Maharashtra, which is amongst the largest generators of plastic waste in the country at 30 per cent.
In June, the Maharashtra government had banned all kinds of plastic bags, cups, straws, glass, plates, bottles, and spoons with beverage majors among other consumer goods firms feeling the heat the most. The new pack from PepsiCo could also be taken to other regions, though executives said it would be restricted to Maharashtra for now.
Vishal Kaul, vice president, beverage category, PepsiCo India, said: “We are committed to making it easier for consumers to choose their favourite drinks through new packaging formats and innovations. The range is an effort at delivering on-the-go, convenient packaging to people for different consumption occasions.”
While returnable glass bottles have been common within the carbonated drinks industry, their share over the past few years for beverage makers had been shrinking owing to the convenience of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles.
According to beverage industry sources, returnable glass bottles, commonly called RGB, constitute around 20 per cent each of PepsiCo’s and Coca-Cola’s carbonated drinks portfolios in India, having come down from about 45 per cent five years ago. PET bottles, on the other hand, have steadily risen, constituting around 80 per cent of the companies’ portfolios now from 55 per cent earlier.
With states increasingly enforcing plastic bans, experts said glass bottles could stage a comeback. Regular RGB packs, for the record, are available for Rs 14-15 for 200 ml packs and Rs 18 for 300 ml packs.
The new 250-ml non-returnable glass pack, PepsiCo said, was priced at the same level as that of its PET counterpart to ensure it was affordable to consumers. The company said it had no plans to introduce more pack sizes of the new format.