Sierra Mist Ditching HFCS For Good, 7Up Getting Reformulated

Barring the complete outlawing of fizzy drinks, the Coke vs. Pepsi fight will continue to be the main event in pop pugilism. But what about the albino step-siblings of these cola titans — the lemon-lime drinks? These lesser libations — Sprite, Sierra Mist, 7Up — have seen their ad budgets butchered and their sales sink in recent years. But none of them are willing to go down for the count without at least one last left hook.

In an effort to differentiate itself from the other beverages in the category, PepsiCo’s Sierra Mist has decided to tap into the growing market for real sugar sodas by phasing out its existing formula, which uses High Fructose Corn Syrup, in favor of the real sugar recipe of Sierra Mist Natural.

Says the VP of natural and flavored sodas at PepsiCo:

There’s not a strong reason to choose one [lemon-lime] brand over another…. And when we asked consumers what would re-engage them in soda, ‘natural’ was the No. 1 concept.

Meanwhile, AdAge reports that 7Up is reformulating its recipe and reworking its graphics in hopes of staying competitive in a category dominated by Sprite. In addition to the formulation redo, 7Up says they plan on spending the equivalent of a whole year’s ad budget on in just the last four months of 2010.

So, would the fact that Sierra Mist will soon be HFCS free make it any more appealing to you?

Lemon-Lime Gets Boost After Years of Neglect [AdAge.com]