Earlier today, industry publication Beverage Digest reported that PepsiCo is set to launch three new Pepsi cola products that are marketed and packaged as being “made with real sugar.” The beverages, to be released this summer, will come in regular, vanilla and wild cherry flavors and are labeled with the nostalgic PepsiCo logo.
The new products appear to be taking the place of the PepsiCo’s popular “Throwback” sodas, which included limited-edition, sugar-sweetened versions of its flagship cola and Mountain Dew, both of which were packaged in nostalgia-inspired cans and bottles. The sodas, which also featured the phrase “Made with Real Sugar” on packaging, debuted in 2009 and saw intermittent distribution through early 2011. In March of that year, PepsiCo announced that it would make Pepsi Throwback a permanent part of its beverage portfolio.
PepsiCo also launched another sugar-sweetened cola in 2009 called Pepsi Natural, an all-natural product made with sparkling water, natural sugar, natural caramel and kola nut extract. The beverage was sold in select U.S. markets before being discontinued.
Despite significant traction for its Throwback products, it appears that PepsiCo pulled back the reins on the sodas sometime near the end of 2012. The Pepsi Throwback Facebook page, which has nearly 273,000 “likes,” has not been updated since Dec. 23, 2012. The last post on the product’s Twitter page came on Dec. 28, 2012.
While some consumers will undoubtedly welcome the new sugar-sweetened products, the beverages are unlikely to have a major impact on the sustained slide of PepsiCo’s CSD sales. However, the company is later this year expected to take a significant step toward reducing the sugar and calorie content of its drinks via its partnership with flavor supplier Senomyx. Senomyx markets an ingredient called Sweetmyx, which is said to allow receptors in the tongue to perceive things as sweeter or saltier, thus enhancing the flavor profile of reduced-calorie foods and beverages. PepsiCo has exclusive rights to use the ingredient in all non-alcoholic beverages.