Pepsi preparing to launch mid-calorie pop

By Reuters
Posted April 1 at 10:53 a.m.

PepsiCo Inc. is getting ready to slim down this summer by offering a mid-calorie version of its Pepsi Cola, an industry publication reported Friday.

The new drink, called Pepsi Next, will have 40 calories per 8-ounce serving, or 60 calories per 12-ounce can, according to Beverage Digest.
A spokesman for PepsiCo declined to comment.

Past versions of such drinks, which taste more like full-calorie colas than no-calorie colas, have not lasted long. However, industry watchers say that the market may be ripe for these types of drinks now, as people try to treat themselves to little indulgences without blowing their diets.

The potential drink could be the first of several. PepsiCo applied for the “Pepsi Next” trademark Jan. 20 and filed Feb. 1 to trademark “Mt. Dew Next” and “Sierra Mist Next,” Beverage Digest said.

“While interest in trying a mid-calorie version of Coke or Pepsi’s flagship brand is high, until we can see that the product can deliver on taste and the company can get the messaging right, we find it difficult to get too excited,” said Bill Pecoriello, president of Consumer Edge Research.

He does not expect Coca-Cola Co. to quickly follow Pepsi back into the mid-calorie game.

In 2004, Coke had its own mid-calorie drink, C2, while Pepsi had Pepsi Edge. Neither lasted more than a couple of years.

Pepsi Next’s recipe is unclear. According to the publication, a source said the drink would likely be sweetened with a mixture of high-fructose corn syrup, sucralose, ace-K and aspartame, while another source said there could still be some tweaks to the sweetener blend.

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