Reports that Pepsi will be launching a new mid-calorie cola, Pepsi Next, has been met with skepticism by a leading beverage industry analyst.
In a research note filed by Bill Pecoriello of Consumer Edge Research LLC., the analyst cited decreased interest in colas, a failure of previous mid-calorie cola products and a consumer base that is more interested in natural sweeteners and better taste.
Pecoriello pointed out that based off the failure of the mid calorie colas Coke C2 and Pepsi Edge in 2004, one could predict the failure of Pepsi Next with a degree of certainty.
“Very simply, the name on the door (Pepsi) is losing share no matter how you cut the data,” says the Consumer Edge Research report. “The Pepsi [trademark] is losing share of colas, colas are losing share of CSDs and CSDs are losing share of beverages.”
While Pecoriello’s research indicates there is a significant portion of the marketplace interested in trying mid-calorie colas that taste similar to Pepsi Cola, that is exactly the hiccup: he believes that they won’t taste like Pepsi. According to Pecoriello, Pepsi has spoken of breakthrough innovation, but a mid-calorie cola with artificial sweeteners is remarkably similar to the 2004 Pepsi Edge product. It also means Pepsi is probably still a ways from developing a similar, naturally sweetened product that could turn cola’s slipping fortunes around, the report indicated.