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Dr Pepper extends TEN calorie crusade in ‘uncharted’ US soda space

By Ben Bouckley+

16-Jan-2013
Last updated the 16-Jan-2013 at 13:45 GMT

Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS) is extending its TEN soda platform by introducing low calorie versions of five of its top soft drinks brands this month, and insists that Dr Pepper TEN is sustaining strong trial and repeat purchase rates.

The brands in question are 7UP TEN, A&W TEN, Root Beer, Sunkist, TEN Orange Soda, Canada Dry TEN, Ginger Ale and RC TEN Cola.

BeverageDaily.com first noticed the new products at InterBev, Las Vegas, in October, and DPS said its TEN platform gave it “clear ownership of a previously uncharted space in the US soft drink category”.

“Low calorie soda, which are neither traditional diet soft drinks nor considered ‘mid calorie’ offerings,” the company added.

Strong repeat purchase rates

DPS said it was targeting consumers aged 25-39 who enjoyed regular soda but had cut back on consumption because they were watching calories.

The sodas use both caloric and non-caloric sweeteners – high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, to deliver 10 calories per 12oz (354ml) serving.

The new low calorie launches follow Dr Pepper TEN, introduced in October 2011; DPS said this product was enjoying strong trial and repeat purchase rates.

However, it is worth noting that, during an investor call in October, DPS CEO Larry Young was forced to defend the TEN platform to Wall Street analysts.

In Q3 2012 regular Dr Pepper sales fell by 1%, with declines only partly offset by growth in Dr Pepper TEN and the firm’s fountain business.

Hitting sweet spot?

Young told analyst Judy Hong, Goldman Sachs, who asked about flag brand cannibalization during the October call, that he was “still very positive on Dr Pepper TEN. It’s a new brand. Launches take a long time. People have to have patience.”

But Mark Swarzberg from Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. said his data suggested that Dr Pepper TEN helped the overall Dr Pepper brand in late 2011 and early 2012, but “it’s not proving quite as beneficial as the year wears on”.

On Monday, Jim Tebilcock, executive vice president of marketing, DPS said: “We truly believe we’ve hit the sweet spot with our TEN products, providing both a fully satisfying flavour and low calories.

“This new platform gives shoppers a great tasting experience and a reason to visit the soda aisle and enjoy the brands they love more often," he added.

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