Last Updated: 3/14/2013 11:48 AM
Mountain Dew Kickstart is a new caffeinated carbonated beverage from Pepsi that is being offered as a morning beverage and is labeled as a “flavored sparkling juice beverage from concentrate." Apparently, adding a small amount of juice (5 percent) to what is otherwise a soda or energy drink makes it okay to drink a product like this at breakfast, right? While this is definitely a questionable move on the part of Pepsi, it seems like a horrible move at a time where social concerns are rising about obesity and energy drink consumption. Beyond that issue, what they’ve created looks sloppy and tastes like something that has no place in the Mountain Dew family. From a flavor perspective, the Orange Citrus is the better of the two flavors with a pleasant note of orange flavor that is enhanced by the added orange juice as well as added white grape juice. (The fruit punch flavor, on the other hand, tastes like candy). To that end, this is certainly not a bad energy drink or soda formulation, but, again, it seems like a total miss when it comes to crafting something that should be consumed in the morning. It’s sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, ace-k, and sucralose, which gives it a moderate level of sweetness and a slight aftertaste. Although we’re sure that Pepsi will call this a healthy offering, citing the drink's 80 calories and 20 grams of sugar as being lower than products sweetened exclusively with sugar. On the visual front, we’re really disappointed with what they’ve created; it looks sloppy and hastily thrown together. The word “Kickstart” has been slapped on the can in such a way that feels like a completely separate brand from Mountain Dew. Overall, we’re really not terribly fond of this product (in case you couldn’t tell) and think that it’s a misstep for Pepsi and the Mountain Dew brand.