INDIA – PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt Ltd, the local arm of American food and beverages company PepsiCo Inc, has launched energy drink Sting, one of its global brands, across organized retail outlets.

This is the second attempt by PepsiCo to crack the energy drink market in India.

It had, in 2008, launched SoBe which was withdrawn from the market soon after.

In India, Sting is available in 250ml cans and will have less than 100 calories, said a PepsiCo spokesperson.

At Rs50 (US 77 cents), Sting is priced much lower than the most-selling energy drink Red Bull, which is priced at Rs110 (US$1.70) for a 250ml can.

PepsiCo’s decision to re-enter the energy drinks market in India comes 10 months after the country’s food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), on 14 December 2016, set limits for caffeine content in energy drinks at a maximum of 300mg per litre.

India is among the few countries to regulate energy drinks—a product category that countries like the US do not regulate.

Starting 1 July, companies were supposed to disclose details of caffeine content on the labels, besides mentioning that one should “consume not more than 500ml per day”.

India’s energy drinks market is still small. According to market research firm Euromonitor International, 45.2 million litres of energy and sports beverages were sold at retail counters in 2016.

The volume is projected to grow to 74.4 million litres by 2020.

Red Bull, which had a market share of 64.3% in 2015 in the sports and energy drinks (source: Euromonitor) segment, leads the market, followed by PepsiCo’s sports drink Gatorade, Goldwin Healthcare’s Cloud9 and Hector Bevegares Pvt Ltd’s Tzinga.

In a separate development, PepsiCo on Tuesday launched Aquafina Vitamin Splash, which is fortified with Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Zinc, and Selenium nutrients, as an extension of its water brand Aquafina to boost its presence in the hydration category.

The product will be priced at Rs30 (US 46 cents) for a 250ml PET bottle and Rs50 (US 77 cents) for a 500ml PET bottle.

“We continue to transform our portfolio to offer healthier options and meet consumers’ increasing interest in health and wellness. Hydration, dairy and juices are three categories that are growing faster,” said Vipul Prakash, senior vice president (beverage category), PepsiCo India.

Live Mint