Beverages

Craft, Low-Calorie, Protein Drinks on Tap at PepsiCo

Beverage maker aims to boost sales through innovation

NEW YORK -- PepsiCo is reaching beyond craft sodas with new products such as protein drinks and low-calorie sparkling beverages to counter the slow growth of the U.S. carbonated beverage industry, according to a report in TheStreet.

PepsiCo's Caleb's Kola

"Expect to see from us an interesting number of mid- to low-calorie sparkling beverage platforms" in 2015, Simon Lowden, Pepsi's chief marketing officer of Pepsi Beverages North America, told the online business publication. "Tropicana will see news around sparkling juices and waters," while "you will see protein as an ingredient come in across more and more beverages."

Gatorade is one beverage in which protein could be added. The brand also will come out with more energy chews and bars. As part of its G Series, the Gatorade brand currently offers the athletically inclined a variety of energy chew flavors, protein recovery shakes, and a whey protein bar. Year-to-date volume for Gatorade sports drinks have increased by a mid-single digit percentage.

Even coconut water, an industry that ballooned to $400 million in U.S. sales last year, according to research firm Euromonitor, is being targeted in a larger way by Pepsi aside from it leveraging its majority stake in O.N.E brand coconut water.

"You will see more news from us on coconut water next year as an ingredient across brands like Mountain Dew," said Lowden.

The healthy theme that underlies Pepsi's innovation push next year, and also recently at Coca-Cola with its Life product that has 35% fewer calories than a typical cola, is meant to counteract demand shifts in the carbonated-soda industry. "In the last 18 months, the conversation in the U.S. has gone from how many calories am I taking in to is it artificial," said Lowden.

Pepsi has jumped ahead of Coca-Cola in the race to reignite consumer interest in soda by entering the emerging craft soda industry with its new brand Caleb's Kola.

The naturally sweetened, one-serving size soda packaged in a brown glass bottle is named after Pepsi's founder, Caleb Bradham. Available at Costco locations in Maryland, New York, Virginia and Washington, the eventual wider rollout of the premium product will help Pepsi boost revenue in its carbonated drinks portfolio, which has been hurt by the commodities businesses of regular and diet colas, according to the report.

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