Smart move, once again, by Pepsi (and here’s one smart lady, Indra Nooyi). Round nth in the eons-old battle between Coke & Pepsi gets set, with Pepsi firing the first salvo – the launch of Pepsi’s CALEB’S Cola. What’s different is the category Pepsi has chosen to position this new cola product in. The slot is distinctly ‘premium’ and the context, no doubt, is to capitalize on the emerging consumer consciousness towards things natural (read healthy). Hence CALEB’S COLA contains natural cane sugar (not processed, mind you), cola nuts from Africa, natural spices and citrus – all warm & fuzzy ingredients one would expect to find in a dish/beverage concocted by your favourite aunt, right in her kitchen. What irony, one would say. This is the exact same positioning Coca Cola had been launched on in the late 1900s. And this launch is not the only thing Coke have to worry about. Plans seem to be afoot at Pepsi to, as Nooyi puts it, ‘drinkify all snacks and snackify all drinks’. Now that seems to be a whole lot of ‘fy-ing’ Pepsi is planning to do. Especially when one considers the lines are buzzing between Pepsi & Muller (their dairy point man) these days. Yogurt drinks, the good old milk shakes…there’s so much to look forward to. All things considered, Coke have their battle cut out for them. And the small soda players, opportunists & interlopers – especially those trying to pack the shelves at Wholefoods & Planet Organic etc. – BEWARE! That ground rumbling you hear under your feet, is Pepsi’s battle machine on the move.

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