Pepsi invests in India — and Seaweed

PepsiCo has been investing in India at a furious pace, according to news reports from that country.

Indira Nooyi, the president and chief financial officer of PepsiCo, told the News Today newspaper of Southern India that the country had some $500 million worth of investments in the pipeline, and had already invested nearly $700 million in the country.

According to Nooyi, India will soon pass China in terms of consumption of Pepsi products, including its Frito-Lay brand snack foods. In an attempt to cater to Indian tastes, the company has introduced flavors that echo various Chaat, or snack foods native to Indian cuisine. The company is already second in the country in terms of consumable goods.

Pepsi’s growth within India is important due to that country’s increasing global economic clout. India is considered an important market both in terms of sheer population and a rising urban class of educated consumers.

Nooyi told News Today that the company has plans to open several plants in the country.

But it is not just investing in consumer goods production in India. PepsiCo is also investing in agricultural growth.

According to another report, from the Business Standard, the company recently signed a deal to acquire a technology developed by the Gujarat-based Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI) to produce an organic plant growth nutrient from seaweed.

According to Abhiram Seth, the executive director of exports and external affairs of PepsiCo India, the technology has been found to lend plants an extra 20 to 30 percent of growth.

Pepsico India plans to partner with several self-help groups (SHGs) in Tamil Nadu whereby it would give assured buyback of seaweeds from the groups.

The company would consider setting up a facility in Tamil Nadu for producing the plant growth nutrient once it gets an assured supply of 10,000-15,000 tons of wet seaweeds from the farmers there, Seth said, although the company doesn’t currently have the scale to process it into fertilizer.