The Tropicana branded drink is expected to launch in India next Spring following a partnership between PepsiCo and the Clinton Foundation to source the cashew fruit from smallholder farms in Maharashtra.

The arrangement is expected to create an important new ingredient supply for PepsiCo’s local juice business, while improving the livelihoods of cashew growers in the region, most of whom live below the poverty line. PepsiCo’s interest in the crop is driving prices higher – growers have seen their income jump by up to 20% since the company started buying up the apples.

Cashew fruit, which typically is discarded by most cashew nut farmers, is high in nutritional value. It is rich in potassium and contains as much as five times the vitamin C of an orange and 50 times the vitamin C of an apple.

The programme’s first India cashew harvest is currently underway. The fruit will initially be sourced from more than 2,000 smallholder farmers, with plans to roll the scheme out to many as 15,000 farmers over the next five years.

According to PepsiCo’s chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi, this initiative – and the social enterprise partnership model as a whole – will help scale up the company’s ambition for more sustainable supply chains.

“Sustainable agriculture is critical to PepsiCo’s supply chain and we have a long history of working with local farmers around the world in ways that strengthen our business and the communities in which we operate,” she said.

“This initiative embodies performance with purpose – PepsiCo’s recognition that our success is inextricably linked to society’s success.”

The scheme should also strengthen India’s own cashew supply chain to build the future potential of a domestic and export market. Farmers will benefit from modern agricultural techniques to boost cashew fruit yield and productivity.

This is the latest waste drive by PepsiCo. Earlier this month edie reported on the company’s plans to expand the number of recycling bins at petrol stations and convenience stores across the US, to help improve packaging recovery rates.

Maxine Perella

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