Chennai, March 1: Today thousands of shops and traders have begun a boycott on multinational drink brands Coca-Cola and Peps. The traders and shopkeepers want to boost local manufacturers in order to promote and sell ‘Desi’ products instead by putting up ban on Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
The Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangam said that only small shops and retail stores are boycotting as supermarkets and restaurants have not yet conveyed their stand. “Their initial response is encouraging. They only want some time to work out the boycott plan. I am hopeful that in the evening meet we will have them also commit a date,” said AM Vikrama Raja, president of the Sangam.
Leaders of Tamil Nadu Traders Federation (TNTF) and Consortium of Tamil Nadu Traders Association (CTNTA) are asking shopkeepers to promote home-grown brands like Kali Mark, Bovonto and Torino, to increase supplies and offer an alternative to the two big global cola brands. Bovonto is now available across the state while Torino is confined to the southern parts of Tamil Nadu. "When there is demand, the brand owners will beef up their supply chain and retailers will go for them," AM Vikram Raja said.
"We are not opposing it just because these products are made by the MNCs. But it does more harm than good to the body. We decided to boycott because of the harmful content," said Vikramaraja.
Arvind Verma, Secretary General of the Indian Beverages Association (IBA) said that "the proposed call is not just against the interest of the farmers, traders and retailers; it also undermines the role the industry can play in economic growth and development. Both Coca-Cola India and PepsiCo India had made major contributions to the Indian economy, providing employment to around 350,000 people besides improving the livelihoods of over 500,000 farmers and about four million retailers in the country. IBA is open to get engage with any organization that has a diverse point of view.”
It may be noted that boycotting the two cola brands was proposed during the Jallikattu protests at Marina beach. The drinks' effects on the environment as well as health were highlighted pushing people to reject both brands. Taking the rejection forward, leaders of Tamil Nadu Traders federation and Consortium of Tamil Nadu Traders association have asked retail stores to stop sales of Coke and Pepsi and are encouraging traders to switch to Desi brands like Torino and Bovonto.