PepsiCo is fighting back in the war on soda by offering a new version of its flagship beverage, called Pepsi Next, which will have 60 calories, about half of its regular soda, according to the Associated Press.
Don't think of it as a "diet" or "low calorie" beverage so much as a mid-calorie drink. Consumers should be able to find the beverage, made with three artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup, on store shelves by the end of March.
Pepsi has been researching the "taste curve" to figure out the sweet (but not too sweet) spot as it tweaks the brand. The move follows sibling brand moves at Gatorade, whose G2, at 20 calories, has a little less than half the calories of the original version; and Trop50, which is half of the 110 calories in a regular glass of Tropicana orange juice.
While Pepsi Next isn’t being marketed as a diet soda, it hopes to attract those who don’t want the caloric boost of regular Pepsi. Dr Pepper Snapple kicked off the new trend back in the fall with Dr Pepper 10, which has only 10 calories and was marketed to men.
Similar sodas have failed in the past. “In 2001, Coke rolled out ‘C2’ and Pepsi in 2004 introduced its ‘Pepsi Edge,’ both of which had about half the calories of regular soda,” AP notes. “Both products also were taken off the market by 2006 because of poor sales.”
But perhaps the consumer market is ready for such a drink as the drumbeat of healthcare practitioners and nutrition advocates continues to rail against soda consumption.
Over the years, consumers have been introduced to such Pepsi variations as Pepsi Free, Pepsi Wild Cherry, Crystal Pepsi, Pepsi Blue, Pepsi Kona, Pepsi Raging Razzberry, Pepsi Mojito, and, of course, Pepsi X Energy Cola, among of slew of others. Now another one joins the list.