Soft drinks manufacturer Pepsi this week announced plans to commission a new can husk line as the firm intensifies efforts to maximise its share of the local beverage market.
The company aims to increase production by diversifying its product range in 2019 with a view to also include a fruit juice line.
Operating under Varun Beverages — the company has become a formidable competitor to the established beverages companies in the country, indirectly creating 16 000 jobs for Zimbabweans in a space of one and half years.
In an interview with Business Weekly, Pepsi general manager corporate affairs Fungai Murahwa, indicated that the company was poised for growth and was tirelessly working to meet market demands that were growing daily.
“This year we will be commissioning a new husk line, which is basically for the production of pre-forms that we require for empty bottles production. We are looking forward to bringing a can line after which we will have to establish a fruit juice line. Demand is very high and we have to keep on working,” said Murahwa.
He said the company has made significant progress in striving to cut its raw material import bill following the biting foreign exchange challenges bedevilling the country.
The company now manufactures own empty bottles for their produce, moving away from the culture of importing already made empty bottles and in the process cutting down on foreign demand.
“Local empty bottles production reduces the demand for foreign currency that is required to import raw materials, it has cut the amount of money needed to import things like empty containers. Now we just import granules which are cheaper and as a result our demand for foreign currency has reduced,” he said.
Varun Beverages is a subsidiary of global player RJ Corp.
The firm produces Pepsi products, among other beverages like Miranda and Mountain Dew and has operations across Africa.
Minister Industry and Commerce Mangaliso Ndlovu, recently lauded Varun Beverages-owned Pepsi for making remarkable progress through creation of employment in a short space of time.
The firm’s products have become popular among consumers and are heavily stocked in most retails shops compared to competing companies.