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Pepsi NEXT, a mid-calorie soda, to debut in spring

November 18, 2011 | 12:41 pm

PepsinextFor those discerning drinkers who scoff at zero-calorie cola but are fussy about their figures, PepsiCo thinks its upcoming Pepsi NEXT low-sugar beverage hits the sweet spot in the middle.

The drink, which has been in testing in Iowa and Wisconsin since July, has 60% less sugar than a standard Pepsi can, with 60 calories for every 12 ounces compared with the usual 150 calories.

The beverage maker now plans to start selling Pepsi NEXT nationwide in the spring, according to the Associated Press. But don't call it diet -- PepsiCo says the new soda tastes like its full-calorie beverages.

Hopefully, the new offering fares better than previous mid-calorie attempts such as Pepsi XL and Pepsi Edge.

Soda sales are slipping amid an increased nationwide focus on health, with Coke volume down 0.5% in 2010, Diet Coke falling 1% and Pepsi-Cola tumbling 4.8%, according to Beverage-Digest

Several major restaurant chains, including Denny’s and Chili’s, have pledged to offer soft drink-free meal options for children as part of the Kids Live Well campaign. Michelle Obama recently extracted a promise from Darden Restaurants to make 1% milk the default beverage on its children’s menus.


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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: PepsiCo