Following a call for boycott of products manufactured by Pepsi and Coca-Cola in Tamil Nadu, the Indian Beverage Association (IBA) has come out in defence of the two MNC giants. It said that the companies have had a critical role of improving the livelihood of over two lakh retailers.
"Coca-Cola and PepsiCo India play a critical role in improving the livelihood of over 2 lakh retailers, who earn more than Rs 400 crores in income by selling products manufactured by the two companies. The companies also sustain the interests of thousands of Tamil Nadu farmers, by procuring agri-produce. Furthermore, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo India together provide direct employment to 2,000 families in Tamil Nadu and more than 15,000 families indirectly, through their extensive supply chain," the IBA said in a statement released on Wednesday. ,
Stating that it is "deeply disappointed" by the calls made for the boycott of Pepsi and Coca-Cola products in Tamil Nadu, it stated, "This call is against the proven fundamentals of robust economic growth, and against the clarion call of 'Make in India'. The boycott call also violates the rights of the consumer to exercise choice," the association said.
It further said that it has already clarified that both Hindustan Coca-Cola and PepsiCo India are local companies, registered in India and compliant to all applicable rules and regulations.
It claimed that all the products manufactured by Pepsi and Coca-Cola are of global standards. "No less than the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in its order of October 22, 2013 quoted the submission of an FSSAI panel that 'basis the existing consumption patterns prevalent in India, ingredients present in aerated beverages do not pose any health hazard'."
The Indian Beverage Association serves as an inter-face between the industry, the government and the public, besides providing a unified and focused viewpoint on legislative and regulatory matters, said the press release.
Two of the biggest trade associations in Tamil Nadu called for a boycott of Pepsi and Coca-Cola products from Wednesday, March 1, onward.
The demands for a ban on Pepsi and Coca-Cola had intensified during the Jallikattu protests in January with agitators alleging that these companies were exploiting the state's water bodies to manufacture aerated drinks while farmers were facing severe drought.
However, the directive of the traders's bodies however does not mean an official ban.
After making the announcement to boycott the companies last month, the organisations had clarified that it is not a ban, but that they have just asked their members to not sell the products.
For now, the situation on the ground seems to be one of uncertainty. Read our story: ColaVeri On: Pepsi, Coca-Cola boycott begins in Tamil Nadu, retailers divided