I say somewhat discerning because it will still have quite a few calories but will be touted as a cola with “no artificial sweeteners.” Pepsi True will have 30% less calories as it will be partially sweetened by stevia which is a leaf extract. The use of stevia is presumably why Pepsi has chosen a green can for Pepsi True.
Why PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP) has chosen to offer Pepsi True exclusively on Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) takes a bit more thinking. Presently, The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) is enjoying a bit of a renaissance with its cloyingly sweet sugar-bomb what was Surge which was introduced in 1997 and discontinued in 2001. That was until Evan Carr to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) in order to start a page called “The Surge Movement” in which users were encouraged to contact Coca-Cola, sign petitions, etc.
Pepsi copycatting Coke
He even raised $4,000 from former Surge drinkers in order to rent billboard space near Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta. The signage read, “Dear Coke, We couldn’t buy Surge so we bought this billboard instead.” As a result, Coca-Cola began selling 12 packs of Surge in 16 ounce cans for $14 exclusively on Amazon and it is struggling to keep it in stock. Apparently, Pepsi is hoping to enjoy that same success.
The blatant copycat behavior of PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP) doesn’t stop there. Coca-Cola introduced its own stevia sweetened mid-calorie soda in Argentina last year called Coca-Cola life.
“Both Coke and Pepsi are experimenting with new ways to launch beverages,” said John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest. “The bottling systems do better with more established products. If they [Coke and Pepsi] launch a product and build scale with Amazon before expanding to retail presence and it works, that’s a good move.”
He then spoke about the semi-health conscious consumer who prefers a 8oz. can with only 60 calories.
More from the expert
“There appears to be a growing set of consumers who graduate toward natural and want natural sweeteners in their beverages,” Mr. Sicher said. “There’s also a growing number of consumers concerned about obesity and health and wellness, so reduced calorie beverages with natural sweeteners would seem to be something that would appeal to consumers at this time.”
It could be suggested that he’s forgetting about Diet Pepsi though that is certainly not naturally sweetened.
True will be the fifth product that bares PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP)’s name and will go on sale in the middle of October. The product page is up and allows users to sign up for an email when the product is available or to write a review on a soda that they’ve never tasted.