PepsiCo has announced it will begin incorporating cashew juice into its blended juice products next spring as part of partnership with the Clinton Foundation, which aims to encourage sustainable agriculture and improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Maharashtra, India.
Through the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership model, founded by President Bill Clinton and philanthropist Frank Giustra, this initiative will apply modern agricultural techniques to improve cashew farming practices, boost yield and productivity, and increase income for local smallholder farmers. It will also scale up and strengthen India’s cashew supply chain to build the future potential of a domestic and export market.
Most cashew farmers in this area of India farm on less than one hectare of land and live below the poverty line. The Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership uses market-driven models to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers by providing training, facilitating the purchase of their harvest, and handling their distribution and logistics. The approach has been designed for replication in value chains throughout the world and is currently catalyzing similar supply chain enterprises in Latin America and Haiti.
Cashew fruit – which typically goes unused 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 as an orange and 50 times the vitamin C as an apple. PepsiCo plans to use cashew fruit juice as one of the ingredients in some of its blended fruit juice products in India.
The program’s first India cashew harvest is currently underway. The fruit will be sourced from more than 2,000 smallholder farmers in 2014, with plans to scale the opportunity to as many as 15,000 over the next five years. PepsiCo India plans to begin incorporating the fruit into some of its blended juice products starting in Spring 2015.
While soda will never be a healthy drink, this could take PepsiCo a step closer to fulfilling its pledge to using more all-natural ingredients. Last year, the company announced it will be working on phasing out the cancer-causing caramel coloring from its formula.
The initiative also adds to the company’s growing repertoire of programs aimed at helping the developing world. In March 2013, the company announced it had reached its goal of helping three million people gain access to safe drinking water in Africa, Asia and Latin America two years ahead of schedule and now plans to double its target to helping six million by 2015