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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Soft drink maker Pepsi wants to tap into a new market. The one where people just ‘kinda’ care about calories. So, the new drink will be calorically somewhere between a full-flavored cola and a diet cola.
Here’s Marketplace’s Jeff Horwich on the fizz behind the new soda, named “Pepsi NEXT.”
PEPSI AD: Reward yourself with new Pepsi Edge — it has full-on flavor but 50 percent less sugar and carbs.
JEFF HORWICH: Wait a minute — that’s Pepsi Edge, and that commercial aired six years ago. This year’s version is Pepsi NEXT, but the same logic applies: You hate the taste of Diet Pepsi. You loves you some Pepsi. Yet you know that drinking one is the calorie equivalent of a scoop of chocolate peanut butter chunk ice cream. Maybe, something in the middle?
JOHN SICHER: A lot of work has been done this last four or five years on sweetener and ingredient technology.
John Sicher is editor and publisher of Beverage Digest, which picked up the first bubbles of news about Pepsi NEXT.
SICHER: Certainly there’s been a lot more focus on calories, health and wellness, obesity since then. And Pepsi says this Pepsi NEXT is a much better-tasting mid-calorie cola.
Sicher says the mid-calorie cola remains a tempting strategy as both Pepsi and Coke struggle with fewer Americans drinking soda. Consumers in Iowa and Wisconsin get the first sips in July.
I’m Jeff Horwich for Marketplace.