Pepsi Next Splits the Difference as a “Mid-Calorie” Soda

Pepsi will introduce a new “mid-calorie” soda at the end of this month. The 60 calorie Pepsi Next will contain half the calories of a regular Pepsi yet, more Pepsi flavor than Diet Pepsi.

This isn’t the first time Pepsi, or Coke for that matter, have attempted this. In 2001 both companies introduced mid-calorie colas. Coke brought C2 to the shelves, while Pepsi distributed Pepsi Edge. Both products were taken off the market within five years due to low sales.

Currently, all soda sales are low. Soft drink sales in 2005 were at 10 billion cases. In 2022, sales dropped to 9.4 billion. While soda sales are going down overall, diet soda sales capture the largest percentage of the market.

This may be the right time for a mid-calorie soda in comparison to 2001. Michael Jacobson is the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The Center has criticized high-calorie soft drinks in the past, yet they are liking what they see with the Pepsi Next product.

“It is certainly healthier that regular Pepsi,” said Jacobson, “but not as good as Diet Pepsi or water or seltzer.”

As we all know business is rarely about anything more than the bottom line and it’s likely that Pepsi is just trying to earn money, not worry about health. Jacobson agrees.

“It sounds like they’re trying everything they can to boost sales (but) for people who are concerned about calories, which presumably is the target of this product, there are many other alternatives. So will this newest beverage gamble pay off?”

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