Even though the news was leaked back in early April that (Pepsi would be trying out a mid-calorie cola called Pepsi Next), the company has only just now gotten around to confirming the drink’s existence, along with the fact that it will begin testing Pepsi Next in Iowa and Wisconsin starting next month.
Pepsi Next will reportedly contain 60% fewer calories and sugar than the drink’s flagship formula. The company has gone down this road, however unsuccessfully, with Pepsi XL and Pepsi Edge. But the CEO of PepsiCo Beverages America said, “The way we were formulating products 10, 20 years ago is different from how we formulate them today, so I think it’s time we give it a try… The sweetener system is different; some of the ingredients are different. It’s a great-tasting product.”
Pepsi appears to be focusing on a reduced-sugar message for Pepsi Next, rather than a reduced-calories message. That messaging could help the brand find a place in Pepsi’s portfolio, which already includes Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max. When news surrounding Pepsi Next first leaked, industry insiders questioned how the brand would position a mid-calorie cola. After all, it will be the brand’s third try at such a product.
Experts tell AdAge that beverage drinkers are willing to give mid-calorie drinks a shot if they still taste yummy: “The consumer wants calorie reduction. If you can give half calorie with no taste sacrifice, there’s a product there for the consumer.”
Pepsi’s Mid-Calorie Next to Launch in July [AdAge.com]