14 June, 2021

The Last Straw

Hoping the worst is behind them, Cola majors move on to win back consumer trust Updates

The Last Straw
The cola giants are yet to live down the pungent fizz of the pesticide controversy. Initially, stung by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) report that the soft drinks contain toxic elements, both Coke and Pepsi resorted to aggression. They followed the maxim "attack the attack", moved the courts, and stoutly defended their position that all colas were safe. But last week, their tenor changed. They were more cautious, almost hoping that the whole thing would die a natural death and they could go back to business as usual.

Suddenly, the cola majors seemed more worried about dipping sales, consumers' ire, and their image and credibility. Their concern also stemmed from the fact that the controversy could spread to other markets; already Nepal has ordered testing of Coke and Pepsi samples. So a visible shift in strategy was visible on all fronts.

The first one happened in the courts. While challenging the CSE's testing facilities in public, Pepsi withdrew the charges of "mala fide intention" against the ngo in the Delhi high court. Instead, its plea was that the...

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