Pepsi Natural


Pepsi Natural
click for Pepsi Raw’s UK website

Food & Design: Pepsi Natural


It seems like the new trend for products is to go organic these days.  Or at least trying to find a more eco-friendly or natural approach to their products.  So one would think that this would be an interesting approach for a cola company, PepsiCo. to switch over to the “natural” ingredients that nature has to offer.

At first, Pepsi tried out the “natural” approach to its United Kingdom customers.  Calling their new recipe Pepsi Raw, PepsiCo. introduced a cola made from sparking water, cane sugar, apple extract, tartaric acid, which comes from grapes, just to name a few.  This is such an interesting idea for a cola company -remove the high fructose corn syrup and market it as the natural cola.

Now, on this side of the pond, American customers will find three similar Pepsi products sweetened with natural sugar in March and April: Pepsi Natural, Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback.  The two throwbacks will be available nationally April 20 for eight weeks.  To complement the name, the throwback packaging will have a retro-look.  As for Pepsi Natural, the glass bottle, sold in a four pack will have a sleeker, simple design showcasing the three main ingredients: sparking water, sugar and kola nut extract.  In addition, Pepsi is labeling this as the “all natural cola”.

Back in the early 1980s, most of the major cola manufactures made the switch to high-fructose corn syrup from refined sugar.  At the time, the lower cost of the syrup and the cola wars made the switch obvious.  Now, with the current market’s negative press for all things high-fructose corn syrup, Pepsi realized that part of its market share was dropping.  With different approaches and new flavors to keep with current trends, PepsiCo tried Pepsi Raw and now Pepsi Natural.

Let’s face it. Pepsi has created some interesting drinks to extend their product line.  In fact, some may say that their product line is a bit over-extended.  The question is, will people want to pay about twice as much for this “natural” Pepsi?  Providing a solution to the negative press for the sugar substitute syrup, Pepsi created a solution for its customers.  However, its does pose the question: is there a price where no cola is better than natural cola?  When you double the price of your good, just to serve a niche market of individuals who want to drink cola but without the chemicals, will this product extension survive?  At this point, I think its too early to tell.

Personally, I think this a step in the right direction for the beverage industry as a whole.  As Americans, we have grown accustomed to drink our sweets and sometimes forget to watch what we put into our bodies.  This would be a positive step for cola drinkers into this new and improved natural Pepsi.  However, even with the term “natural” Pepsi is not trying to market this cola as a health drink.  In the Times, a spokeswoman said, “We’re not saying it’s healthier.  It’s a premium drink for people who like natural products.”

Alexandra Gergar graduates from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in marketing and finance.  Cooking since she was a child, she now  has a food blog called Lemons in Water.

Product design is a conversation with your audience, why not blog in the same manner?

Alex Gergar

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