Press Clips: PepsiCo Tries Cashew Apples

PEPSICO LOGOSo what’s the deal with cashew apples? They have a short shelf life, an “acrid taste,” according to The New York Times, and they’re usually left on the ground or thrown away. But as the saying goes, one man gathers what another man spills.

As a recent Times story notes, juices from coconuts, pomegranates and limes are getting more expensive amid rising demand. Alas, PepsiCo thinks juice from cashew apples, sourced in India, could work as a nice substitute. Beginning next year, cashew juice will be put in a mixed fruit juice sold in India with a Tropicana label, replacing more expensive ingredients like apple, pineapple and banana.

Local farmers are a bit confused by the interest in the formerly forgotten crop, which a PepsiCo executive went so far as to call “a premium product.” Regardless of PepsiCo’s questionable plans, business is business.

“I thought it was a little strange that they wanted to buy cashew apples,” farmer Sanjay Pandit said in the article, “but I didn’t like to question a new source of money.”

Sugary Soda Alternatives

Even though Americans are trying alternative beverage options outside of the carbonated soft drink (CSD) category, plenty of us are still quite fat. A recent story by Vox notes that even if consumers step away from CSDs, they’re not too distanced from sugary beverages that may have a less-sugary guise.

The article cites Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, who said that humans digest liquid sugar much faster than sugar in solid food. This leads to faster influence on the body, quickly contributing to health risks such as obesity and diabetes.

The following chart shows that the CSD category isn’t the only place to get a heavy dose of sugar.

Source: Vox/The California Center for Public Health Advocacy

Source: Vox/The California Center for Public Health Advocacy

Chiquita Draws Big Bids

Brazilian orange juice company Cutrale and partner Grupo Safra, an international investment firm, have ponied up $625 million to acquire Chiquita, according to Forbes. Not so pleased with this news is Fyffes, an Irish importer and distributor of produce, which had an offer that seemingly falls $99 million shy of the competition.

Forbes writes that Cutrale, despite its prominence in the global juice market, has a fairly sketchy background. The article mentions a price fixing investigation, efforts to lower citrus prices (to the dismay of Floridians), and its role as a steady target for farmers and environmental protest groups.

“Cutrale does two things well,” Forbes writes. “Make and distribute orange juice worldwide, and tick of its competition. Fyffes…welcome to the club.”

Scaling Classic Indian Drinks

Hector Beverages, an India-based beverage company, knows the history and diversity of its country’s beverages. There’s aam panna, a cool mango drink with spices. There’s gol guppa ka paani, a spicy water. And depending where you go, you’ll find something entirely different. Each state has its own beverage, according to an article by Quartz India, which recently profiled Hector Beverages.

Hector Beverages

The founders of Hector Beverages, left to right: James Nuttal, Neeraj Biyani, Suhas Misra, Neeraj Kakkar ; photo credit — Quartz India

“We are so used to our traditional drinks not being available in a hygienic manner in the market,” co-founder and CEO Neeraj Kakkar said in the story. “But this is the stuff our childhood is made of.”

Hector Beverages, which is attempting to scale these beverages once reserved for street carts, has already pulled in $12 million from Sequoia Capital, Footprint Ventures and Catamaran Ventures. And in the $8.6 billion CSD market in India, the company is going after the big dogs. This ambitious goal may not be so quixotic.

As the article notes: “in many supermarkets it has become as much of a soft-drink superstar as Coke or Pepsi.”

Coke Sues Former Vending Machine Partner

Coke has filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Atlanta against USA Technologies, Inc., which enables the use of debit and credit cards for vending machines. The cola giant alleges that the tech company gathered nearly $1 million from vending machines after the companies ended their partnership two years ago.

Stephanie Prince, a USA Technologies spokeswoman, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the suit is “baseless and without merit.”

“USA Technologies intends to vigorously defend itself against these accusations,” Prince said in the article.

Teenager Passes Away After Too Much Water, Gatorade

A teenager from Georgia passed away Monday morning after what is believed to be a rare case of lethal overhydration.

Zyrees Oliver, hours away from starting his senior year at Douglas County High School outside of Atlanta, had been dealing with cramps, dehydration and migraines in recent months, his family told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. However, it wasn’t until he over-hydrated after football practice, drinking two gallons of water and two gallons of Gatorade, that he collapsed and later passed away.

The Oliver family hopes to raise money to return him to his home state of New Jersey, where they’d like him to be buried.