Pepsi to Take Next National

A national rollout of its new mid-calorie soda is indeed next for Pepsi.

Following what the company called a successful test launch of Pepsi Next in Iowa and Wisconsin, the cola giant plans to begin selling the beverage throughout the United States beginning in April 2012, according to the Associated Press.

Pepsi Next contains 60 calories per 12 oz. can, 60 percent fewer calories than regular Pepsi. The new product also has 60 percent less sugar than the flagship cola, and in a June article in Advertising Age, Massimo d’Amore, the CEO of PepsiCo Beverages America, explained the product was created for consumers who are looking to cut back on sugar consumption, but would rather not drink zero-calorie colas because of their less than full-flavored taste profile.

While some industry insiders doubt that Pepsi – which saw the demise of a similar low-calorie product called Pepsi Edge in 2004 – will find mass market appeal, the company claims that Pepsi Next exceeded its expectations in test markets. D’Amore noted that the new beverage tastes better than other attempts at low-calorie colas – a major point of differentiation and perhaps the key to its success.

“Pepsi Next is a next-generation cola,” d’Amore told Advertising Age. “The sweetener system is different; some of the ingredients are different.  The way we were formulating products 10, 20 years ago is different from how we formulate them today, so I think it’s time we give it a try.”