New Delhi: PepsiCo Inc. is bringing back Slice in its original form as an aerated drink with 10% real fruit juice, just as it first introduced the product in the US in 1984.

Slice, which was discontinued in the US in 2000s, now sells only in India, as a mango juice.

In its new avatar, Slice will come with a few twists—more fruit content, less calorie and with new flavours, some of which are ethnic Indian. To be sure, this is the first category extension for Slice that PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd launched in India as a mango drink in 1993.

Priced at Rs12 for 250ml PET bottle, fizzy Slice will be about 30% cheaper than other carbonated and non-carbonated drinks that PepsiCo sells in India. “We will shortly be introducing an affordable range of locally relevant fruit juice drinks with fizz under the Slice brand," said Vipul Prakash, senior vice-president (beverage category), PepsiCo India said.

The new range of Slice, PepsiCo India said in a statement, is “fruit juice drink with fizz" that will include both “ethnic favourites like jeera, guava chili and mainstream flavours like apple, lemon, orange and clear lime".

“All these variants will have over 11% juice," the company said. According to the company, the new range of fizzy Slice will have less calories in line with PepsiCo’s global agenda of lowering calorie content in its products.

It aims to have at least two third of portfolio with 100 calories or less from added sugars per 355ml of serving by 2025.

With the lower pricing, PepsiCo is hoping to gain share in rural and semi-urban markets that are growing faster than the metro markets and are currently dominated by juice and regional cola brands, such as Bovonto in Tamil Nadu and Jayanti Cola in non-metro northern India, among others. “By riding on both company and franchise go-to-market sales and distribution infrastructure, we want to dial up growth and market access for our juice products in these key rural, ROU (rest of urban) markets," PepsiCo said in the statement.

Interestingly, Frooti-maker Parle Agro had, in March last year, launched the fizzy version of Frooti—the first brand extension for the popular mango drink launched 32 years ago. The company also sells Appy Fizz.

The launch of Frooti Fizz, however, came four months after the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) set new standards for carbonated fruit beverages defining the category. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had in September 2014, urged companies like Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. to mix natural fruit juices (at least 5%) in aerated beverages to help boost fruit sales for Indian farmers.

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