Pepsi Giving Away 10 Million Cans Of Sierra Mist Natural This Weekend

For years, Sierra Mist has toiled in the shadow of Sprite. But as we reported last month, PepsiCo is hoping to give the lemon-lime drink a competitive edge by replacing HFCS with real sugar and changing the name to Sierra Mist Natural. In an effort to win people over to their product, PepsiCo plans on giving away at least 10 million cans of the drink to Walmart shoppers this weekend.

With its Throwback versions of Pepsi and Mountain Dew — and now the push for Sierra Mist Natural — PepsiCo seems to be banking on what Coca-Cola refuses to admit: That customers believe they can taste the difference between HFCS and real sugar and that there’s a large enough to sustain these soda brands.

PepsiCo, Walmart to give out Sierra Mist Natural [AP]


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  1. StuffThingsObjects says:


  2. dbeahn says:

    Taste the difference or not, there is a LOT of research out there showing what the dangers of sugar *are*. We know the problems it causes.

    HFCS, on the other hand, sure seems to have possible issues we DON’T know about. Some of them potentially *really bad*.

    I’d like a choice please. If Coke won’t give me one, then I’ll drink the products that do allow me to choose sugar.

    • Preyfar says:

      With sugar though, I feel less inclined to drink more of the stuff because I feel more satiated with a REAL sugary drink. And that, in turn, helps reduce the risks associated with it.

      Then again, we as a society stopped viewing as soda as “liquid candy” and more as “essential liquid nourishment”. We did it to ourselves.

    • hoi-polloi says:

      That’s my line of thought, as well. All else being equal, I’ll pick a soda sweetened with sugar over HFCS. I’ve cut way back on soda, sweetened tea, and the like. When I drink it, I try to stick with more natural options.

      That said, there’s something about those half-gallon cartons of cheap, processed iced tea that takes me back to my late teens. Once in a blue moon, that’s an itch I need to scratch. It amuses and scares my wife in equal measure.

      • dangermike says:

        I’ve gone one further. I’ll have a beer or hard cider with dinner if I’m really craving a fizzy drink. I mean, if my little yeast buddies have already digested the majority of the sugar, I don’t really have to worry what plant it came from. =D

        • hoi-polloi says:

          I’m not much of a drinker, but my wife happily employs your strategy.

          We just started getting bottles of seltzer delivered, which you can easily mix with different juices. I’ve been meaning to pick up some flavored syrups to try with it. A homemade cream soda sounds pretty good.

    • sumocat says:

      Problems we don’t know about and aren’t allowed to know about because HFCS is not available for consumers to purchase directly. Every other sweetener from sugar to sucralose to stevia can be bought in its pure form, but not HFCS. The closest you can find is regular corn syrup sweetened with HFCS. That should raise red flags with any level-headed person.

  3. godai says:

    My only problem was that they reused the color scheme of Diet Sierra Mist.

    I almost bought some Natural instead of my usual Diet.

    While I would be curious to see the difference my body would not of appreciated it.
    (Had a gastric bypass so I can’t handle large amounts of sugar.)

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Then you can’t handle large amounts of HFCS either.

      • Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

        Diet doesn’t have HFCS – it has chemical sweeteners.

        • TouchMyMonkey says:

          Which have their own health-related problems. My doctor has a big poster in the waiting room telling people to avoid the stuff because you run a greater chance of going diabetic, among other things.

    • Mamudoon says:

      Ugh, I did the same thing when Pepsi changed their Diet caffeine-free from brown to white. I bought four cases (it was on sale, so I stocked up) of the brown ones without checking, like I always did, and it was the regular caffeine-free kind. I didn’t notice until I opened the damn box, but luckily, I could exchange the other three. It’s still sitting in the pantry somewhere.

    • DeepHurting says:

      Same thing happened here. I picked up a Natural instead of a diet due to the change in packaging.

      I can’t complain though, as it was quite delicious.

    • topgun says:

      I know what you mean. My employees keep telling me we are out of Sierra Mist because they think it’s Diet Sierra Mist. Since this is the third label change in as many months I’m going to bet Pepsi changes the diet can.
      Also my employees aren’t very bright.

  4. Jfielder says:

    Mmmm, I had some of this last week. It’s yummy. Doesn’t give me that sticky, slimy, gross mouth feel.

  5. TerpBE says:

    Because nothing says natural like potassium benzoate, potassium citrate, ascorbic acid and calcium disodium EDTA.

    • Beeker26 says:

      Doesn’t contain any of those. The ingredients are: Carbonated Water, Natural Flavor, Sugar, Citric Acid, and Potassium Citrate.

      • Bativac says:

        This has always bothered me – what is “natural flavor”? Isn’t it just a chemical flavoring developed by food scientists?

        • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

          It’s actually heavily regulated by the FDA to mean, “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or any other edible portions of a plant, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose primary function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional”

          What this means is, if you make vanillin identical to the vanillan in actual vanilla in the lab- it’s not a “natural” flavor. That said, it’s stupid. It’s identical. The only advantage to “natural” vanilla is that it tends to contain impurities (sometimes toxins) from the actual plant that affect the flavor. Not to mention that yeasts and molds are often better sources of “natural” substances like citric acid and dextrose than plants typically are- so we “brew” these substances like beer. Not what most people are thinking of when they think of “natural” citric acid.

        • Beeker26 says:

          From Wikipedia:

          “Natural Flavoring substances: Flavoring substances obtained from plant or animal raw materials, by physical, microbiological or enzymatic processes. They can be either used in their natural state or processed for human consumption, but cannot contain any nature-identical or artificial flavoring substances.”

          Basically, flavors derived from natural (read: non-synthetic or chemical) sources.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Ascorbic Acid is Vitamin C… so um yeah.

      • TerpBE says:

        “Most sources equate vitamin C with ascorbic acid, as though they were the same thing. They’re not. Ascorbic acid is an isolate, a fraction, a distillate of naturally occurring vitamin C. In addition to ascorbic acid, vitamin C must include rutin, bioflavonoids, Factor K, Factor J, Factor P, Tyrosinase, Ascorbinogen, and other components” –

        Also, ascorbic acid in food products is usually synthesized through a chemical reaction – not derived from a natural source.

        • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

          Your source is utter shit. There are two forms of Vitamin C, period. They are relatively simple in terms of molecular structure, period. One is more effective than the other, period.

          Tired of this shit.

    • dangermike says:

      If you get right down to it, they’re calling it natural to imply that it doesn’t contain processed items and instead uses “natural” cane sugar. Have you ever seen a sugar cane? You can cut into one and expect to find white sugar crystals. It’s basically a sap. After flour, sugar is pretty much the second oldest processed food item. And while I’m of the belief that it is likely less bad to consume than corn syrup, cane sugar is far from “natural” and certainly still carries many similar risks when overconsumed.

      If you want natural sugar, eat fruit.

  6. The cake is a lie! says:

    I bought a bottle last week because I was excited about it. It tasted terrible! It tasted like a diet drink. Blech! I wouldn’t drink this stuff unless it was absolutely the only thing between me and absolute dehydration. I’d really rather drink my own bath water, and I don’t say that about very many beverages.

    • Nidoking says:

      Ditto. While I think the taste of the Throwback beverages has grown on me, a two-liter bottle of Sierra Mist Natural wasn’t enough. I’ll probably try it again, because sometimes it takes a while to get used to a new flavor, but if it’s just a single freebie they’re giving away, I wouldn’t expect many people to want to drink more after tasting it.

    • sparrowmint says:

      Give it a few more tries. It tasted like that to me the first small bottle I had, but after that, it became delicious. I think it’s just such a stark difference from the gooey, filmy original that it tasted like a diet drink in comparison. After that, it’s very crisp and refreshing.

  7. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I don’t normally drink lemon-lime soda except for occasional 7-Up but if they’re giving it away, I’ll try one.

    I really liked 7-Up. I wish that had sugar in it. I’d go back to it if it did.

    • dangermike says:

      I don’t know what happened to 7up. I used to really like it but in the last few years, it has started to taste… phony. Like before I remember a more bitter, natural lemon flavor to it where now it’s more like a lemon candy. Too sweet and too bright. Almost like the odor of lemon-scented cleansers.

  8. dolemite says:

    Lol, I had Mt. Dew Throwback last weekend. It’s a HUGE difference. The same goes for Dr. Pepper. Coke reps think Americans are stupid or something.

    Dr. Pepper Sugar: Tastes better than the original.
    Mt. Dew: I like the HFCS better.
    Coke: Kind of a tossup. The sugar coke tastes like C2 (God, I loved C2…too bad it never caught on).

  9. markmark says:

    What will happen when Wal-mart goes to check your receipt and you’ve not paid for that Sierra Mist you were just given? Will the headline on Monday be, thousands arrested in shoplifting scheme?

  10. Beeker26 says:

    I guarantee the Wal-Mart here will be out of freebies in less than 20 minutes. It’ll go something like this:

    The toothless mountain people will take all 8-12 of their kids (including the two still attached to the 400 pound mother’s teats) and demand 1 can for each family member. They will then go and dump the cans in their trunk and come back for another round. Lather, rinse, repeat until they’re all gone.

  11. rpm773 says:

    Meanwhile, lovers of saccharin everywhere continue to wait for pendulum of fate to swing back in their direction…

  12. ExtraCelestial says:

    For the love of god can someone tell me where to get a Pepsi Throwback?? I have looked everywhere!

  13. Midwest Doc says:
  14. Nighthawke says:

    Had some, ain’t too bad. I had some Mt. Dew Throwback the other day. I used to chug that stuff when I was at the city pool. All I needed was some chlorinated water burning my nose to revive the fond memories of the good ole days.

  15. Rocket says:

    I need to try that now! I can tell the difference, and real sugar is SO MUCH better than HFCS.

  16. ExtraCelestial says:

    Interesting that carbonated water is natural, but alkalized cocoa is not.

  17. lettucefactory says:

    I don’t normally drink soda, and when I do, it’s diet. But I really like that Pepsi is trying this. We say we want stuff (less HFCS!) and they’re trying to oblige. I hope it does well for them.

    • rpm773 says:

      I don’t normally drink soda, and when I do, it’s diet.

      You are…the most interesting person in the world.

  18. pop top says:

    I prefer Sprite to Sierra Mist because it has a sweeter flavor than Sierra Mist; SM is kind of sour and has an odd aftertaste. I will have to give this a try though, because I like the non-HFCS pop more than the regular stuff.

  19. dwtomek says:

    I have no idea if the only difference between the throwback and standard versions is the sugar. That being said, if you honestly cannot tell the difference between the versions, you have some serious tasting deficiency.

    • The Twilight Clone says:

      I can’t taste the difference. I think it’s a marketing gimmick designed to play on the recent “fears” of HFCS. I think any difference in flavour is psychological; all these sodas switched to HFCS in the early 80s and no one noticed.

  20. BurtReynolds says:

    I’d get some if I didn’t have to go to Wal Mart to get it.

  21. VectorVictor says:

    Since HFCS has the same dangers as sugar, plus more that we don’t know about or are hidden by corporate agenda, I’d rather stick with the devil I know (sugar) than the one I don’t (HFCS).

    And I can taste a discernible difference. Dublin Dr. Pepper is 10x better than the HFCS swill they try to sell us on now. Same thing with Throwback Pepsi.

    Wish they would use their first recipe for Throwback Mt. Dew, and not the current one, though–first one had actual OJ, and less bromate.

  22. friendlynerd says:

    Slice was such a better name.

  23. evilpete says:

    I’ll buy some just to send coke a message.

  24. crazydavythe1st says:

    Maybe Coke will pay attention when they start slowly losing market share. I prefer Coke products, but Pepsi has some real winners with all their real sugar sweetened sodas. It’s pretty stupid on Coke’s part – GMO beet sugar has started to take off, and that’s driving down the cost of sugar like crazy. HFCS is losing its cost advantage, so to pretend like consumers don’t have taste buds and say that they have no intention of switching to sugar is really stupid.

  25. arualflower says:

    People in Texas are die hard fans of Dr. Pepper… and even bigger fans of Dublin Dr. Pepper. Made with Imperial sugar. You CAN!!! Taste the difference, it is much better than the HFCS version. Regular Dr P gives you a sticky tacky feeling in your mouth, sugar version does not. People CAN taste the difference. Once you go sugar you never go back. >.> .>

  26. steveliv says:

    I don’t even drink any sugar sweetened drinks anymore. I stick to Coke Zero, Sprite Zero, and Pibb Zero, and my waistline has thanked me. Don’t get me wrong, I love REAL sugar sodas, they taste so good, but they really aren’t the best for you.

  27. topgun says:

    Speaking of Pepsi, why did they come out with a caffeine free Mountain Dew? Isn’t that the whole point of doing the Dew?

  28. DarkChii says:

    We just don’t believe we can taste the difference you can. No more sticky thick aftertaste when real sugar is used.

    I’ll have to pick up some Sierra Mist Natural this weekend as my husband will love it.

  29. ecvogel says:

    I work till 7:30p tomorrow. Get to my car by 7:45p. Drive far to a Wally World to find out they are all gone. No way.

  30. Tiandli says:

    Sierra Mist with sugar has an aftertaste that I don’t care much for that I don’t taste in other sugar colas. Nice try Sierra Mist but I’ll stick to Jones Cola, which I think tastes better than Pepsi Throwback.

  31. GTB says:

    I’ve been buying this stuff, and its good. I don’t normally go for the lemon-lime soda but Im digging this one. I wish they would have pepsi throwback running all year, I would pay extra for it.

  32. poetworm says:

    The packaging looks..ahem, very feminine. Not like that’s a bad thing, it just looks like a diet/light drink. Why not replace all your products with real cane sugar prodcuts, Pepsi? Also, calling it “Natural” just makes it seem more insulting.

  33. nocturnaljames says:

    I was excited about this product, until I tried it. Tastes horrible. 7up is heavenly compared to this, I hate to say, real sugar or not.