In what could be an effective way to overcome soaring sugar prices, Pepsico India has sought government nod for using alternative sweetener for beverages.

“There are some natural sugar substitutes, which do outstandingly well in other countries. It is not allowed in India right now, but they are allowed in the U.S., Korea and in other countries,” Pepsico India Chairman Sanjeev Chadha told PTI.

The prices of sugar, which accounts for a third of the input cost of carbonated beverages, have skyrocketed to Rs. 40 per kg from around Rs. 20 a year ago.

Citing the example of the plant ‘Stevia’, often found in Latin America, China and Africa, Mr. Chadha said Pepsi wants to use it as a sugar substitute and grow it in India.

“Stevia is the sugar of tomorrow. Its leaves are 30 times sweeter than sugar... We are talking to the regulatory people.

It is allowed in other countries and should be allowed in India as well,” Mr. Chadha said.

Meanwhile, the company is looking at various options like leveraging on import and hiking the prices of its products to tide over the situation.

Besides, the company is entering into future trade contracts of sugar as part of the strategy to minimise cost.

“Fortunately, given that import is allowed we can lock in and look in forward deals and that is what is really helping up tide over the situation,” Mr. Chadha said.

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