PepsiCo has refused to comment on the trademark filings, but trade publication Beverage Digest, citing sources, reported that the new drinks could be released this summer, and will have 40 calories per eight-ounce serving, or 60 calories per 12-ounce can. This is about 40 percent of the calories in regular Pepsi, which has 150 calories per 12-ounce can – while Diet Pepsi and PepsiMax have no calories.
PepsiCo applied for the ‘Pepsi Next’ trademark on January 20 and on February 1 for the ‘Mtn Dew Next’ and ‘Sierra Mist Next’ trademarks.
The precise formulation of the beverages is still unclear, but in a research note filed by Bill Pecoriello of Consumer Edge Research, the analyst was skeptical about whether Pepsi Next will be successful. He cited the failure of other mid-calorie cola drinks, such as Coca-Cola’s Coke C2 and PepsiCo’s Pepsi Edge, launched in 2004.
“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,” he said.
Commenting on Pepsi Next and the idea of mid-calorie sodas in general, director of innovation and insight at Mintel Krista Faron told FoodNavigator-USA that although the concept itself is nothing new, today’s environment is different, with a much greater emphasis on calorie control.
She said: “I think there are some challenges with this market because a mid-calorie soda could get caught in the middle. So the onus is on Pepsi in positioning this…Pepsi should not rely too much on comparisons.”