April 30, 2019

PepsiCo, owner of Frito-Lay, suing four farmers in India for growing patented potato variety

PepsiCo — the parent company of Frito-Lay — is offering four Indian farmers a chance to avoid litigation if they stop growing a patented Frito-Lay potato chip variety. Politicians in India are now rallying to the farmers’ defense, reported The Economic Times.

Members of both of India’s two major political parties — the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress — slammed PepsiCo via Twitter and one, Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, is even threatening to organize a boycott of PepsiCo if it doesn’t withdraw the lawsuits.

An Indian farm advocate who spoke on behalf of four farmers has accused PepiCo representatives of entering the farmers’ property illegally to collect samples. See The Economic Times’ for the full story.

PepsiCo told CNN it has extended an offer to the farmers to join its Frito-Lay potato growing program. The conglomerate, which also owns Gatorade, Quaker Oats, Aquafina and Doritos, among other brands, is suing each farmer for approximately $143,000. The farms are a “few acres” apiece, CNN reported.

A PepsiCo rep told CNN the lawsuits were a “last resort” to protect its potato farming program.