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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 2010, 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.


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Where to Find the Best Food in Super Bowl Village

Sporting events generally aren’t places where you count on finding healthy snacks readily available. Lucas Oil Stadium does have some “real food” (I don’t know if healthy really applies) beyond nachos and hot dogs, so I was hopeful for real options when the Super Bowl came to Indianapolis. While there was not much variety within the Super Bowl Village itself, you will not have to wander far to find something that feels more like a meal than a snack.

The Super Bowl Village, stretching from the Indiana Convention Center to the Bankers Life Fieldhouse (formerly the Conseco Fieldhouse) has plenty of concession stands offering chicken tenders, steak burgers, hot dogs, french fries, soft pretzels, Sweeties gourmet treats, Frito Lay chips, candy, hot cider, coffee, hot chocolate, cappuccino, Gatorade, water, and Pepsi products.

Inside the Indiana Convention Center, which houses the NFL Experience, additional options include Lipton tea, fruit juice, popcorn, whole fresh fruit, Lay’s Potato Chips, Snickers, M&M’s, yogurt, turkey caesar sandwiches, Italian grinder sandwiches, roast beef sandwiches, grilled veggie sandwiches, chicken caesar salad, tossed garden salad. burgers, BBQ pork sandwiches, and tenderloin sandwiches.

Deeper in the NFL Experience, near the memorabilia show and autograph stage, Pepsi Max and Doritos each has an exhibit with free samples, contests, and games. Considering the long lines seen in the NFL Play 60 Game Zone, attendees could have very positive feelings about these exhibits.

Luckily, not far from there in the maze of the NFL Experience, the “Sandwich Zone” offers carved turkey and carved beef for sandwiches with several topping options. They also have candy, soda, water, Gatorade, and Lipton Tea.


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PepsiCo Invests in Pro-Childhood Obesity Lobbying

current Pepsi logoPepsiCo spent $750,000 in lobbying last quarter, which comes to $3 million per year. This amount is small change to a company with $57.8 billion in global sales, but the news highlights the company’s bipolar relationship to consumer health.

Companies are required to disclose their lobbying activities with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and with the Secretary of the Senate. According to PepsiCo’s lobbying report, the company was generally interested in policies concerning childhood obesity and food and beverage labeling. In terms of specific legislation, PepsiCo opposed guidelines being created by the Interagency Working Group on Food Market to Children (IWG), which would limit the way unhealthy foods could be marketed to children. The company has also fought hard to keep soda from being excluded from nutrition assistance programs, such as food stamp programs.

Although PepsiCo has made a number of changes to improve the public conception of how healthy their products are, the money invested in this kind of lobbying betrays these efforts as little more than token concessions to Americans’ increased interest in healthy eating.


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Activision and Pepsi Promote Childhood Obesity

Kids are heavier than ever and get too little exercise, as school physical fitness has nearly evaporated and home activities revolve around computer games. So, to ensure that the computer time is extraordinarily bad for kids’ health, Activision and Pepsi have teamed up in a cross-promotion from Hell.

Activision and Pepsi have come up with “Rank Up XP,” a cross-promotional deal that is implemented via the new video game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. The offer goes like this: When gamers buy certain Pepsi products, such as Mountain Dew or Doritos, they get redeemable codes to use for “Double XP time” in Call of Duty. Since I’m not familiar with the game, I can only say that it gives people a distinct advantage (presumably in Internet play?).
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Reduced Sugar Pepsi Next Hits Stores this Summer

At the Beverage Digest Wall Street Smarts conference yesterday, Massimo d’Amore, CEO, PepsiCo Beverages America confirmed the rumors that Pepsi will be launching a mid-calorie soda. D’Amore described the new beverage as “a next-generation cola” that cuts calories and sugar without sacrificing taste, the major stumbling block for mid-calorie sodas of the past. In 2004, PepsiCo launched the 70-calorie Pepsi Edge, which proved unsuccessful and was pulled from the market in the following year.

“The way we were formulating products 10, 20 years ago is different from how we formulate them today,” said d’Amore. “The sweetener system is different; some of the ingredients are different. It’s a great-tasting product.” He explained that the product has been created for customers who currently drink full-calorie soda, but are looking to cut back on their sugar consumption. The product will be tested in two locations this summer, in Iowa and Wisconsin.

The move may be an attempt to keep consumers from switching from cola to other beverages altogether, as the health problems associated with soda consumption gain more public attention. “When some consumers switch from regular colas, they try diets, don’t like the taste and move on to water or other categories,” John Sicher, Beverage Digest’s editor and publisher, told Advertising Age. “The theory is that a mid-cal can taste better than a diet to some consumers and appeal to consumers who are moving away from the regular brands.”


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