Love soda but don’t like how unhealthy it is? Pepsi will soon introduce craft sodas, such as agave vanilla cream, geared specifically towards customers who love sodas but want to steer clear of processed sugars. The company plans to start selling the drinks as early as this summer in soft drink dispensers and restaurants, and might price them as premium sodas.
Packaged to look like a craft beer, Pepsi will release several new flavors under the name Stubborn Soda, reports Time magazine. The sodas will use natural ingredients and steer clear of sweeteners that have gotten bad press lately such as high-fructose corn syrup. The sodas will also be made from fair trade-certified cane sugar.
“Following our recent launches of Caleb’s Kola and Mountain Dew Dewshine, we’re continuing to explore the craft space with Stubborn Soda,” PepsiCo spokeswoman Gina Anderson said in an email to Yahoo Finance.
Because of its name, there’s been some controversy surrounding Mountain Dew Dewshine, another one of Pepsi’s craft sodas, which some consumers have mistaken for moonshine. The drunk hillbilly mascot on the packaging of the citrus-flavored soda hasn’t helped.
“This is kind of an homage to the Tennessee rebels who first developed Mountain Dew,” Greg Lyons, VP of marketing for Mountain Dew, which is owned by Pepsi, told Ad Week. “[We] have a really rich brand heritage — it was created about 75 years ago in 1940 in the backwoods of Tennessee — and it was because of this [heritage] that we were inspired to create Mountain Dew DewShine.”
Pepsi also recently released Pepsi True, its answer to Coca-Cola’s Coke Life, which is sweetened with stevia.
Pepsi is introducing these sodas at a time when consumers have slowed down drinking carbonated drinks and are looking for healthier options with less artificial sweeteners and sugars. For the past 10 years, soda drinkers are switching to more natural options, such as water, and steering clear of unhealthier options.
A PepsiCo spokesman said the new craft sodas are in “incubation” and there are no restaurant clients at this time, although they hope to introduce it to that market this summer.
“It’s very new, they’re still learning from it and reaching out,” the spokesman explained.
Flavors will include black cherry with tarragon, orange hibiscus, pineapple cream, and agave vanilla cream, according to Mashable. Pepsi is the latest food giant to join other companies like Chipotle and Taco Bell in offering new options to health-conscious customers. The new drinks will be marketed to the public as craft sodas.
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