PepsiCo to tinker with beverage brands

PepsiCo executives recently told bottlers its plans to tinker with its beverage brands.

Beverage Digest, reporting from the Pepsi Bottler Meeting Sept. 21-23 in Los Angeles, described new plans for SoBe, Gatorade, Amp, canned coffee, and Sierra Mist.

The beverage giant said it may relaunch Sierra Mist as a “health and wellness platform, possibly with new sweeteners,” BD reported. The change would follow the lemon-lime soda brand’s most recent repackaging, announced just last October.

PepsiCo has recently struggled with rebranding. It watched Gatorade sales continue to slip after a much-touted packaging revamp that moved the brand’s emphasis from its lightning bolt emblem to a giant G, and pulled a new package for Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice after consumers objected.

The company had more success with a repackaging of SoBe Lifewater, which put the brand in a twisted bottle. That package debuted at the same time as its first three zero-calorie varieties sweetened with Purevia, a natural sweetener derived from the stevia plant. BD reported that PepsiCo will add more zero-calorie varieties to the Lifewater line, and will also transition core SoBe from its iconic glass bottles to PET.

In other non-carbonated beverages, Gatorade G2 will see a reduction from its already-low 25 calories per serving. The company is also exploring zero-calorie variants of Propel, and is planning RTD coffee “value offerings” through Starbucks’ Seattle’s Best brand.

On the energy front, PepsiCo is considering an AMP juice line in PET, BD reported, and will add new sugar-free AMP flavors. The company is also planning a new energy shot to replace its recently-scrapped AMP Energy Shot.

On core Pepsi, the company will place greater emphasis on its “performance with a purpose” theme, BD reported, and the company promised institutional support for its bottlers decisions.

Hugh Johnson, president of Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages, told bottlers that “When you invest, the franchise company will have your back,” BD reported. That could be good news for coconut water marketer O.N.E. World Enterprises, which recently announced an investment from the Pepsi Bottling Group.