Review: Pepsi Next Paradise Mango & Pepsi Next Cherry Vanilla


With Pepsi Next being on the market for only 3 months, it’s surprising to see not one but two flavor extensions launched already. But that’s what we have with the release of Pepsi Next Paradise Mango & Pepsi Next Cherry Vanilla.

New Next flavors already?

New Next flavors already?

When we first reviewed Pepsi Next back in March, we noted that PepsiCo had applied for trademarks on these flavor extensions. One thing can be said, Pepsi sure does seem pretty focused on making Next work, despite the confusing product positioning and use of 4 different sweeteners in an attempt to create a “real cola taste.”

From a design perspective, the look of these new flavors still suffers from the issues we cited in our original review, namely that the use of blue doesn’t do much to differentiate from the rest of Pepsi’s product line, and the touted white “wave” element doesn’t appear on all views of the drink, thus making these Next extensions continue to get lost in the shuffle. At least they use accent colors of orange and red to denote flavors.

It doesn’t really matter, however. I haven’t really run into anyone who actually understands just what Next really is. “Is this another diet drink?” “How is this different from Pepsi Max?” “What happened to Pepsi One?” You get the idea. The jump into non-traditional flavors reminds me of the confusion behind the ill-fated Diet Pepsi Jazz lineup in 2006-2007. Anyone remember Diet Pepsi Jazz Black Cherry French Vanilla, Diet Pepsi Jazz Strawberries & Cream, and Diet Pepsi Jazz Caramel Cream?

Pepsi Next Paradise Mango

Pepsi Next Paradise Mango

Starting with the uniquely named Pepsi Next Paradise Mango, my expectations are that this is going to be an “orange + cola” combination. Pop the cap and you are greeting with a very strong mango scent, with a follow up of cola. The drink is colored just like a normal cola, dark without a hint of additional flavoring. The flavor is quite unique, with a strong emphasis on the mango, creating almost a “biting” sensation in your mouth. It’s not what you really expect from a dark-colored cola. That said, I really wanted to love this flavor, because it is a unique combination. It just seemed to off-putting, to be honest. Different, yes? Something that customers would keep buying over and over? Probably not. There is a lot of chemical feel in your mouth when you are drinking Paradise Mango, much like flagship Pepsi Next. However, the addition of a fake tropical fruit effect hurts more than helps.

Pepsi Next Paradise Mango
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sugar, natural flavor, phosphoric acid, sodium citrate, caffeine, potassium sorbate (preserves freshness), aspartame, citric acid, acesulfame potassium, sucralose

A 20 oz bottle contains 100 calories, with 100 mg sodium and 26 g carbs (26 g sugars). Caffeine content is less than Pepsi Next, with Paradise Mango having 3.2 mg/oz vs. 3.5 mg/oz.

Pepsi Next Cherry Vanilla

Pepsi Next Cherry Vanilla

Moving on, the last time we saw a Cherry Vanilla Pepsi was the summer of 2010, when we were greeted by a limited-time run of Cherry Vanilla Pepsi and Cherry Vanilla Diet Pepsi. I liked those flavors quite a bit, and based on the feedback we’ve gotten over the years here at BevReview, others did as well. So it was good to see this familiar flavor reappear, this time added to Pepsi Next. Like Paradise Mango, the color of the drink remains dark with no real hint of the additional flavoring. Open the cap and you can sense a strong vanilla influence, with just a hint of cherry. As for flavor, this one is far superior to Paradise Mango. Perhaps the expectation of cherry and vanilla mixed with cola is more welcomed… or they just taste good together. In any case, it’s a tasty combination that is welcomed. However, like Pepsi Next itself, it starts familiar and strong, only to degrade into a cocktail of artificial sweeteners. That said, fans of diet soft drinks, and specifically Next, will probably support Cherry Vanilla quite well, much like Coke Zero fans hold to the Cherry and Vanilla flavor extensions.

Pepsi Next Cherry Vanilla
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sugar, natural flavor, phosphoric acid, sodium citrate, caffeine, potassium sorbate (preserves freshness), aspartame, citric acid, acesulfame potassium, sucralose

A 20 oz bottle contains 100 calories, with 100 mg sodium and 26 g carbs (26 g sugars). Caffeine content is 3.2 mg/oz.

I applaud Pepsi for rolling out new Pepsi Next flavors so quickly, especially since products like Coke Zero haven’t had new flavors added in quite a long time. That said, there seems to be both a hit and a miss with these offerings. Thumbs up to Cherry Vanilla, not much much for Paradise Mango (but kudos for trying something different!)