Tropicana Twister Soda is a caffeine-free fruit-flavored spinoff brand by Pepsi launched back in 2005. The name is derived from an existing juice beverage called Tropicana Twister, which mixes bold fruit flavors together. The “Soda” spinoff has nothing to do with this concept. Go figure. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Pepsi owns Tropicana.
The launch of this brand appears to be intended to fill the need left by the retired Slice brand formally promoted by Pepsi, and later phased out when Sierra Mist replaced Slice as the primary lemon-lime offered by the company (orange was popular as well). Coke has relaunched their Fanta line to fill this role. Interestingly, the Slice brand has been making somewhat of a comeback. It’s being used to market Splenda-sweetened “Slice ONE” exclusively at Wal-Mart, in orange, grape, and berry flavors.
Tropicana Twister Soda was launched with 4 flavors: Orange, Diet Orange, Grape, and Strawberry. For the most part, it’s been hard to find, poorly promoted, and pretty much a dud. I should add that the packaging really stinks. Some industry observers wondered if Pepsi was going to kill this brand and bring back Slice. But wouldn’t you know it, recently they launched a new flavor… Citrus!
I’ve only seen the new flavor in can format, when I’ve been able to find it. It looks like the introduction of this flavor was to target Fanta Citrus (formerly Citra) or other “zingy” citrus products, such as Squirt and 50/50. Upon opening the can, it actually smelled a little like the grapefruit-induced scent of Squirt. The color was very similar as well, sort of a hazy clear yellowing tone. Plus, it has 1% real juice!
The taste was nothing exceptional, however. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t something that was unique. It tasted somewhat like a store brand type of beverage. No real zing or zest that you’d expect from a citrus-flavored drink. It seemed to be designed for citrus drinkers with no taste buds. Fanta Lemonic topped it easily.
Overall, I just have to scratch my head with the Tropicana Twister Soda brand. I understand that Pepsi is trying to leverage their Tropicana brand, but somehow I don’t quite make the connection. In my mind, Tropicana is OJ, not soda. I think there is an expectation there when you put the juice-oriented brand name on a product… and that expectation is not met with the final result.