PepsiCo’s in the Hood, Promoting Health, Community and Culture


Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages (PCNAB) is in the ‘hood, the South Bronx hood to be precise, teaming up with New Yorkers like Grammy Award producer, rapper, and artist Swizz Beatz, graffiti artist Cope 2, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Assemblyman Carl Heastie, all gathered in support of healthier lifestyle choices.

Activities held today at THE POINT include:

  • Sampling stations with Aquafina, Diet Sierra Mist, SoBe Lifewater and Pepsi MAX
  • Cooking demonstrations from City Harvest highlighting healthy summer recipes
  • Live art installations by Swizz Beatz, with parents, students and faculty from The Bronx Charter School for the Arts and Cope 2.

“Being a father and also being involved with The Bronx Charter School for the Arts, I understand even more how important it is to stay healthy,” said Beatz (who’s now a proud papa to a son with partner Alicia Keys) in a release. “The Bronx Flavor initiative shows Pepsi-Cola North America’s commitment to the well-being of our community.”[more]

The Bronx Flavor campaign runs throughout the summer with interactive street installations and photography by unofficial fourth Beastie Boy, Ricky Powell, who will be shooting all of the creative.

Weekend activities with guest celebrities will feature Cardio kick boxing, Zumba, Break Dancing, Basketball and Boxing/MMA; and an End-of-Summer Block Party with celebrity hosts and DJ, local healthy food vendors, pick-up games, live screen printing, mobile pools and more. Stay tuned for updates on Twitter via @bxflavor.

“The Bronx community has a special style and swagger,” said Javier Farfan, PepsiCo Cultural Branding Senior Director. “PCNAB wants to celebrate the community by letting residents know that they can make healthy lifestyle decisions without losing flavor, Bronx flavor.”

Meanwhile, in another ‘hood thousands of miles away — that of Athota, India — crowds gathered in a farm village to watch a promotional film from PepsiCo offering two new snack foods fortified with iron supplements to help fight anemia.

Advertised under PepsiCo’s Indian Lehar Iron Chusti brand, (Chusti means “energy” in Hindi) one is a cookie and the other resembles a cheese puff, both joining a drink which at five rupees is more expensive than the single-serving fortified-snack packs that sell for two rupees, about four cents.

These products are targeted to India’s low-income emerging-market customers, specifically adolescent girls in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Reminiscent of the earliest days of Tupperware or Mary Kay, PepsiCo hired one woman in each of the 84 villages targeted in Andhra Pradesh to go door-to-door to sell the snacks.

55% of females between the ages of 15 and 49 suffer iron deficiency in India, and some experts are alarmed that “Malnourished children are being encouraged to buy iron-fortified cereal puffs and cookies to treat their anemia,” said Veena Shatrugna, a nutrition consultant with the Indian Institute of Public Health.

A person needs 17 milligrams of iron daily, and Chusti has 7 milligrams in a pack. “You can keep fortifying several products and it won’t make much of a difference but it won’t do harm either,” says B. Sesikeran, director of National Institute of Nutrition in the article.

While the largest part of PepsiCo’s $60 billion annual revenue still comes from Pepsi-Cola and Lay’s potato chips, CEO Indra Nooyi has committed to more than double revenue from “good for you” products, to $30 billion by 2020.

In China, the company recently introduced “Quaker Congee,” an oatmeal, rice-based breakfast alternative, and is looking to launch a new beverage in Latin American markets made from fruit, oats and dairy.

From the South Bronx to southern India, PepsiCo aims to balance profit and health with community and great taste.