Pepsi Introducing Craft Soda In Effort To Boost Sales, But Analysts Aren’t So Sure It Will Work

Pepsi is hoping that a new line of craft sodas will do something to spark lagging sales in the United States, but analysts aren’t so sure the move will work.

This week, PepsiCo chief executive officer Indra Nooyi announced that the company will be introducing a line of “craft” sodas that provide some unique flavors and eliminate some of the artificial ingredients. The soda line will first be found at restaurant fountain machines starting this summer.

The move also comes as more Americans are turning away from carbonated drinks as part of a general trend toward healthier food and drink.

The Associated Press noted that Pepsi and the new craft sodas are following suit.

“Food and beverage executives say people are increasingly buying things they feel are natural or wholesome. The trend has also prompted Coca-Cola to introduce Coke Life, which is sweetened with a mix of sugar and the plant-derived sweetener stevia.

To keep up with changing tastes, there are signs restaurant chains are also looking to shake up their drink menus. Chipotle, which serves Coca-Cola fountain drinks, this past summer began testing a root beer that is organically sweetened. A spokesman for Chipotle, Chris Arnold, said in an email the test is ongoing, with the possibility of expanding it in coming months.”

But Pepsi could be facing an uphill battle. Analysts note that the company is under great pressure, and its staple of high-sugar drinks are coming under increasing pressure amid nationwide bans on soda in schools and limits on the size of sugary drinks.

“You can’t blame anyone at PepsiCo for feeling a sense of urgency—or embattlement—in recent years,” noted Fortune. “Their staple products, soda pop and potato chips, are only slightly less demonized these days than cigarettes. Sales of carbonated soft drinks have dropped 14% over nine years, and Pepsi’s market share has fallen too. The company has struggled just to keep its revenues and profits essentially frozen in place for four years.”

But the report also noted that Pepsi appears to be bucking the trend, and last year saw its revenue grow by 4 percent. This year also represents the 50th anniversary of the merger between Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay.

Those who want to check out the new Pepsi craft soda won’t have to wait much longer. PepsiCo expect that the new drinks and their exotic flavors will make their way into restaurants over the next few weeks.

[Image via Getty Images / Justin Sullivan]

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