Despite weaker sales for the mid-calorie soda, PepsiCo has launched two limited-edition flavors for Pepsi NEXT. PepsiCo debuted Pepsi NEXT Cherry Vanilla and Pepsi NEXT Paradise Mango earlier this week, and each will be available nationwide through September 8. “We’re infusing real cola taste with unique flavor blends, and giving cola lovers two more reasons to drink it to believe it, ” said Angelique Krembs, Vice President, Pepsi Marketing.
As consumers increasingly shun high-calorie and sugary beverages, PepsiCo has high hopes and expectations for Pepsi NEXT, which has 60 calories per 12 oz. serving, and 60 percent less calories and sugar than regular Pepsi. PepsiCo Americas Beverages CEO Al Carey said that the company feels “very good” about Pepsi NEXT and that the brand was pacing ahead of its projected 25 million cases in first year sales. Speaking at at Deutsche Bank’s Global Consumer Conference last month, Carey, said that because Pepsi NEXT tastes very much like regular Pepsi, “we’re finding this product highly incremental in pulling back lapsed cola drinkers that we’ve lost over several year.”
Yet while PepsiCo remains positive about the prospects for the brand, recent sales data and apprehension among industry retailers suggest that Pepsi NEXT may have a long road ahead. According to Symphony IRI sales data for the four weeks ending on June 10, Pepsi NEXT’s volume share fell to 0.6 percent, down from one percent in the previous month. Additionally, a recent Wells Fargo survey of convenience store retailers found that while Pepsi NEXT has strong distribution within the channel – 94 percent of respondents said they carry the soda – most stated that the beverage is generating weak repeat sales. Moreover, none of those surveyed said that Pepsi NEXT is generating strong repeat sales.