Coming Soon: Pepsi Natural


Update: Read our review of Pepsi Natural. Keep reading below to learn more about the background of this beverage.


While we've been talking quite a bit about the upcoming April rollout of Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback, it appears another beverage from Pepsi may be of interest: Pepsi Natural.

Pepsi Natural
(Source: Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages)

The Official Spin

Per a press release from Pepsi-Cola North American Beverages that arrived today:

An all-new premium cola, Pepsi Natural is made with all-natural ingredients, including lightly sparkling water, natural sugar, natural caramel and kola nut extract. The amber-hued cola gets its color from natural caramel and natural apple extract. From the amount of bubbles to the foam that rises to the top of beverage when it's poured, Pepsi Natural offers a brand-new cola experience.

Pepsi Natural is packaged in a sleek 12-oz. glass bottle and is available in single-serve and 4-packs initially in the premium and/or natural food aisles of retail outlets in the following ten regional markets; Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas and New York.

With this announcement, I contacted Nicole Bradley of Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages for some clarification regarding Pepsi Natural.

1. What is the official release date for Pepsi Natural?

Per the press release, the launch window is "March and April". Pepsi noted that Pepsi Natural started appearing on store shelves this week.

2. How long with Pepsi Natural be around?

Unlike Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback, which have a limited release window, "Pepsi Natural is not a limited time beverage," per Ms. Bradley.

3. What will the packaging look like?

Per the press release, 12 oz. glass bottles will be used to hold Pepsi Natural. These will be available individually or as part of a 4-pack. Natural will not be available in any other sizes or containers at this time.

Pepsi Natural
(Source: Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages)

4. What type of sugar will be used in Pepsi Natural?

The press release noted the use of "natural sugar," but what exactly does this mean. After additional clarification, Pepsi explained that this a "blend of cane and beet sugar." This is the exact same type of sweeteners being used in Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback. To learn more about the differences between cane sugar and beet sugar, take a look our our explanation in the Throwback overview.

5. Is Pepsi Natural Kosher?

Like Pepsi Throwback, Ms. Bradley notes that Pepsi Natural is NOT Kosher. You'll have to stick with Kosher for Passover Pepsi for those dietary needs.

6. Is Pepsi Natural the same as Pepsi Raw?

Last year, Pepsi released Pepsi Raw in the United Kingdom, a natural take on their beverage. Pepsi Natural seems to be very similar to Pepsi Raw, but is it the same?

I asked Pepsi this question, and they replied that "the formulas for Pepsi Natural and Pepsi Raw are similar but not the same." Just how similar are they? Let's take a look at the ingredients for both:

Pepsi Raw
Sparkling water, cane sugar, apple extract, colour (plain caramel), natural plant extracts (including natural caffeine and kola nut extract), citric, tartaric, and lactic acids, stabiliser, gum arabic and thickener, xanthan gum

Pepsi Natural
Sparkling water, sugar, natural apple extract (color), carmel color, citric acid, caffeine, acacia gum, tartaric acid, lactic acid, natural flavor, kola nut extract.

The obvious difference is the use of cane sugar in Pepsi Raw vs. the combination of cane/beet sugar in Pepsi Natural.

Comparing the caloric count, Pepsi Natural has 150 calories per serving (12 oz bottle). A 250 ml can of UK Pepsi Raw claims 100 kJ per 100 ml serving. Doing the math and fun conversion from metric, it would seem that Pepsi Raw breaks down to 11.86 calories/oz., while Pepsi Natural has 12.5 calories/oz. So they are pretty close, but not exactly the same.

7. How much caffeine is in Pepsi Natural?

It breaks down to 3.2 mg/oz., which puts it on par with regular Pepsi (also 3.2 mg/oz.). By comparison, a drink like Mountain Dew contains 4.5 mg/oz.

8. How does Pepsi Natural compare to Red Bull Simply Cola?

In March 2008, it was announced that Red Bull — yeah, the energy drink — was launching a "natural cola" called Red Bull Simply Cola. We reviewed this drink in November 2008 and found it to be decent, but not exceptional. Our larger question was "why?" regarding Red Bull's move into the niche soda market. With Pepsi Natural now here, the two drinks are probably going to be compared often. Here's a look at both ingredient lists side-by-side:

Red Bull Simply Cola
Water, sugar, carbon dioxide, natural flavor (caramel), natural flavors from plant extracts (galangal, vanilla, mustard seed, lime, kola nut, cacao, licorice, cinnamon, lemon, ginger, coca leaf, orange, corn mint, pine, cardamom, mace, clove), lemon juice concentrate, caffeine from coffee beans

Pepsi Natural
Sparkling water, sugar, natural apple extract (color), carmel color, citric acid, caffeine, acacia gum, tartaric acid, lactic acid, natural flavor, kola nut extract.

From a caffeine perspective, Red Bull Simply Cola contains 3.8 mg/oz. of caffeine, while Pepsi Natural has 3.2 mg/oz. In both cases, those are comparable numbers to Coca-Cola Classic (2.9 mg/oz.) and Pepsi (3.2 mg/oz.).

We haven't had a chance to do a side-by-side taste yet, so we can't comment on the taste comparisons.

9. What's the history of Pepsi Natural?

Well, as mentioned before, Pepsi Raw was released in the United Kingdom in early 2008 — and seems to have a lot in common with Pepsi Natural. This was followed by Pepsi Retro in Mexico. These, of course, were special releases beyond the seasonal and imported takes on "real sugar" soda found in the likes of Mexican Coke, Kosher Coke, Kosher Pepsi.

As far as the origins, we can learn a little more about this beverage by poking around the United States Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Electronic Search System. For example, we learn that the request for trademark on the name (Pepsi Natural) was filed way back in December 8, 2006, with extensions filed last February and September. In 2008, they also filed for a trademark on a plural version of the name (Pepsi Naturals)… April 7, 2008 to be exact. The opposition period for this mark has completed and a Notice of Allowance has been issued as of October 7, 2008, which means that as soon as paperwork and payment are filed, a patent/trademark will be issued. While it does not seem that Pepsi is going to use this mark right now, I would speculate that the plural version could be used for an entire line of "natural" soft drinks.

Pepsi also filed 3 applications for visual marks regarding the Pepsi Natural brand. The first was filed November 24, 2008, which seems to just revolve around the Pepsi Natural logo itself (Serial Number 77620885)… which showcases the new Pepsi logo.

Pepsi Natural
(Source: uspto.gov)

It's noted that the colors brown and tan are claimed as unique features of this mark, which is described as "a tan globe device containing three fields whereby the middle field divides the globe and beneath the globe device are the words "Pepsi" and "Natural" in tan stylized letters. The background is brown."

Another visual mark was filed on November 24, 2008, which appears to be a derivative on the logo design with additional background images, probably for use in branding and marketing (Serial Number 77620987). Note the reference to "ovals" in this official description: "The mark consists of a tan globe device containing three fields whereby the middle field divides the globe and beneath the globe device are the words "Pepsi" and "Natural" in tan stylized letters. Behind these elements on the upper right portion of the mark are dark brown ovals configured in a leaf pattern. The background is light brown."

Pepsi Natural
(Source: uspto.gov)

Finally, we have a mark filed December 12, 2008, that revolves around the bottle design (Serial Number 77638765).

Pepsi Natural
(Source: uspto.gov)

The mark is described as "a tan globe device containing three fields whereby the middle field divides the globe and beneath the globe device are the words "Pepsi" and "Natural" in tan stylized letters. These elements are superimposed over a light brown bottle design." Wait, light brown bottle? Not clear? The images seen elsewhere on the Web seem to indicate a clear bottle, so perhaps this is just referring to the bottle design being used as a mark, not the bottle itself.

So, with Pepsi Throwback, Mountain Dew Throwback, and Pepsi Natural coming, the next few months are shaping up to be really interesting in the beverage world!

Comments

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  5. BevBoard says:

    Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback…

    I confirmed with Pepsi today that Pepsi Natural will have the same combo of sugar as Throwbacks… cane & beet sugar together.

    It's also not Kosher, "similar" but not exactly the same as Pepsi Raw,……

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