Review: Pepsi X Dragonfruit


Have you ever looked at soda flavors released in places like Japan and wondered, "why can't we get creative new stuff like that here?" Cultural differences aside, I believe one reason is marketing… or lack thereof. Case in point, Pepsi X Dragonfruit. It's a different flavor, bit with the lame packaging and branding attached to this product, it's destined to underperform. In the end, it supports a self-fulfilling prophecy that flavor innovation isn't worth it.

Pepsi X Dragonfruit

Pepsi X Dragonfruit

As we noted in our preview story, Pepsi X came out of PepsiCo's sponsorship of Fox's The X-Factor singing competition show. Part of the promotion involved taste tests across the country to select a new flavor. In the end, Dragonfruit was selected as the winner.

Dragonfruit equals "Singing Competition Show"

Dragonfruit equals "Singing Competition Show"

That's all fine and dandy. In the end, it's a new limited edition flavor of Pepsi. Pretty simple to understand, right? But then Pepsi had to muck it all up with a new fake subbrand called "Pepsi X". Um, what exactly is that? Think of the questions asked by your average shopper. Is it diet? How is it different from Pepsi? Dragonfruit? The side of the packaging proclaims that this is "The Pepsi with The X-Factor". Oh, that helps a lot. Thanks. This type of "brand with no purpose other than to confuse" reminds me a lot of the Diet Pepsi Jazz lineup from 2006-7.

Limited Edition... whoa, check out those dots!

Limited Edition… whoa, check out those dots!

Aside from the name and fake hierarchy, there is the package design. The whole purpose of limited time offerings is to provide short-term sales gains for the product line. It's something Mountain Dew does quite well. One element that is important when you are working with an LTO is to make sure folks actually can find your product. It should stand out, proclaim the limited edition awesomeness, and showcase the different flavor.

Now look at the bottle of Pepsi X Dragonfruit.

When this is sitting on a store shelf, it blends right in with other Pepsi lines. If you don't look carefully, you might mistake it for Wild Cherry Pepsi or one of the Diet Pepsi flavors. The "X" branding is very subdued, there are goofy looking dots all over the label for some reason, and the attempt of a more metallic shine is quite lost. It's a bland-looking product. (This same mistake was made with the first release of Pepsi Throwback. The blue packaging looked too much like existing Pepsi. Upon the second release, the packaging drastically changed.)

Yes, this drink needs a long non-explanation

Yes, this drink needs a long non-explanation

I say all this because Pepsi X Dragonfruit is actually a pretty tasty drink that we liked quite a bit. Unfortunately, because of the way everything else seems to be botched regarding its rollout, I can't see it succeeding very well. These days, the leading beverage brands need to act more like brand managers & marketers rather than drink manufacturers. Coke understands this quite well. Someone in Purchase, NY missed the memo.

OK, end of rant. Let's get to the drink!

Pepsi X Dragonfruit is light brown in color, lighter and more tan than traditional Pepsi. When poured, it also has a substantial carbonated foamy head vs. standard Pepsi. There's a slightly fruity scent combined with a traditional cola ambience.

Sweetness is a theme throughout this beverage. The initial sip starts like traditional Pepsi but quickly changes to add layers of spices, fruit flavor, and just a little burning in the back of your throat. Despite the hint at it being inspired by the dragonfruit, I actually taste a lot of parallels to Pepsi Holiday Spice (2004) or Jones Soda Ginger Bread Soda (2011).

While this drink is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, there's also acesulfame potassium and sucralose in this drink. I didn't really detect much of the artificial sweeteners, but others who tested it with me were able to pick them out. Given that this drink is still 110 calories per serving, I'm guessing Ace-K/sucralose is in place to help keep the calorie count manageable. Still, the sweetness must push those calories way up if they needed to add artificial sweeteners and still have such a high number. Also, it's odd for Pepsi to "sneak" those into a Pepsi-branded drink like this. I guess the "X" in "Pepsi X" stands for "we threw some fake stuff in."

I like the more complex flavor profile found in Pepsi X Dragonfruit. There are more flavors to pick out and in some ways, you can detect the cola aspects better, even though it's all pretty much non-natural processing that's making that happen (think a knockoff of Pepsi Natural or Red Bull Simply Cola).

I'm not sure this would work as a permanent flavor, but as something special for a limited time, it's a winner. Too bad it's saddled with ridiculous promotional messaging, unnecessary brands, and a design that should have been discarded before it even moved to production.

Pepsi X Dragonfruit
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, natural flavor, phosphoric acid, potassium citrate, potassium sorbate (preserves freshness), caffeine, acesulfame potassium, gum arabic, sucralose

A 12 oz can contains 110 calories, 35 mg sodium, and 31 g carbs (30 g sugars). Caffeine content is 3.58 mg/oz.

Comments

  1. I always feel so left out of these limited editions because I only drink diet beverages :( If there is already artificial sweeteners in it, why not just use stevia instead of HFCS?

  2. I could pick out the artificial sweetener right away. It has a much sweeter flavor than regular Pepsi does. The taste isn't bad but something I have to get used to seeing how I don't care for diet sodas at all. Still I can tolerate it, especially if I'm really thirsty :).

  3. Pespi with dragon fruit flavor is the worst freekin soft drink i have ever had. I bought that junk and have a large family. And it has been sitting on the kitchen floor for over a month. I think my kids would drink Robitussin first !!!

  4. yep, I agree w/Paul!! It is absolutely aweful!! I thought I was buying regular pepsi as it was blended in w/the regular pepsi's in the store! That just taught me to read read read EVERYTHING on labels from now on. I will drink it, because I try not to waist things that I buy, but it is absolutely horrible. I would highly recommend NOT buying it!

  5. I also agree with Paul, Pepsi needs to recall this Garbage,
    Is there anyway I can get my money back for the 12 pack minus 1 can?

  6. Joey Viner says:

    I agree with Steve's entire review. I just wish they made a diet or diet caffeine-free version. As it is, I probably won't buy it again, too many calories.

  7. Pepsi desperately needs to reinvent themselves, i think we all thought they had when they rebranded several years back, but obviously it was not an indication they had done so.

  8. Definitely agree that the label design is a FAIL. I like the flavor, but was very disappointed to learn that it has sucralose & acesulfame as it is not advertised or marketed as a reduced calorie drink. I hope this does not become a trend in sodas. The reality is that HFCS replaced real sugar because it was cheaper, and now these artificial sweeteners are being used together with HFCS because they're even cheaper. AT least if this had been called Pepsi Next Dragonfruit, i would have known what I was buying.

  9. I bought this thinking it was regular pepsi… I took a sip and it was absolutely disgusting. I thought I had somehow bought an expired pepsi or something. I looked closer at the label and realized it was dragonfruit flavored. It has a bitter/sour taste which doesn't even taste like pepsi. I'm mad that I wasted my money. They made the label look just like regular pepsi. Do not waste your money on this drink.

  10. The best thing I can say about this soda is that it made my son & I laugh over just how bad it tastes. It's like drinking perfume-flavored swill from the bottom of a garbage pail – or at least what I'd imagine that tastes like. Disgusting, gross, fake – toss out any negative adjective you have handy & it will probably fit. My wife purchased it, thinking it was regular Pepsi – good Lord, I wish she kept her eyes open while shopping.

  11. This is the Worst thing I have tasted. Believe me, I have tasted soda's from all around the world and this is the Worst to date. I couldn't get through a single 16oz drink before I dumped it.

  12. Yes i got 1 2lt bottle just to try it and it had a .75 coupon on it so that made it only like 50 cents, thank goodness. that stuff was nasty drank 1 glass and put the rest in the outside trash can. just plum NASSSSTTTYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Oh. My. Goodness this stuff is so good. I literally own over 20 12-packs in preparation for it to discontinue. This why we can't have good flavors in America, dumb Americans hate it all. They only want Pepsi one, diet pepsi, pepsi max, pepsi next and a billion other gross sodas. Do yourself a favor and stock up!

  14. I found these at the store, 4 20oz bottles for $1 lol. I saw right away that it has dragonfruit in it, but i still bought 12 bottles to try. I figured it'd be disgusting seeing that they were 25 cents a bottle, but its not too bad. I would recommend it and buy it again. With that being said, i still like regular pepsi better and i wouldn't be crushed one bit if it were to go away.

  15. Nasty, nasty, nasty. This stuff tastes nasty. Maybe Tyler wants the 20 oz bottle I bought. I bought 2 of them at $.99 a bottle. Wasn't sure why the sale, but when Diet Pepsi, which I normally buy was $1.50, for a 20 oz bottle, I thought I'd buy it. Didn't have much money with me, at the time. Opened one bottle, had a snack can of Pringles, but after a couple drinks, could not stand it. Put the cap back on and put it in the refrigerator. Tried taking a couple drinks later, but just too nasty!!! Will probably dump the partial bottle down the drain and see if I can give the other bottle away. Poor packaging. Advertised as Pepsi X on the front of the cooler door, but difficult to figure out just what was different about it. Didn't notice the Dragon Fruit part on the label, until I looked at it closer, when I got home. Was next to regular Pepsi and Diet Pepsi. Reminded me of when my friend would drink Monster Energy drinks and the horrible smell it had, as soon as he opened it. The taste, to me, is like the smell of some of the energy drinks. Later thought this was maybe Pepsi's version of an Energy Drink. Will sure check the labels closer next time, before I buy, even if it's on a special sale. NASTY, NASTY, NASTY, at least in my opinion!!!!

  16. It sucks too sweet. Taste like mop water Pine Sol

  17. Pepsi x is terrible. I bought it to try it and it has been sitting on the corner of our counter for the last month or so and my family usually drinks a whole 2 liter of pop/soda in 24 hours. Disgusting!!

  18. I bought a 12-pack of this stuff to try it out a few weeks ago, and it was bad. Honestly, it tastes like someone mixed Thai Dragonfruit-scented Febreeze into the Pepsi. All I could taste was Febreeze. I ended up giving away most of my 12-pack because I could hardly drink this stuff.

    3/10 would not buy again.

  19. You are all weird. I think it is great! I was looking forward to trying it when they first announced it on X Factor. And the reviewer is dumb too. The X in Pepsi X is because of X Factor not hidden ingredients… I also love the design. Looks awesome. I have bought 12 packs multiple times since it came out and drank all of them. The first time I tasted it I didn't think it tasted any different. It took several sips before the fruity flavor showed up. I love when they come out with new flavors of soda. I also liked the Mango Pepsi. Anyways obviously people like it as it won the vote out of 4 different flavors. I just wish I could of tasted all of them.

    X Factor is one of my favorite shows on TV and I couldn't wait to get some of this and drink a Pepsi X while watching it.

  20. I agree with Jesse and Tyler… this is the most delicious pepsi they have ever came out with. I also agree that, even though it is limited time, when enough people like the drink they usually keep it in shelves as a permanent drink (think Mountain Dew Livewire) and people hate on this drink because it tastes different? No duh.

  21. Absolutely disgusting. The artificial sweeteners made me sick, as well, as artificial sweeteners tend to do, yet they fail to mention that on the label. Terrible, terrible, terrible.
    No one's hating on it because it tastes different. Different is good. New products are always a good thing.
    They're hating on it because it's absolutely disgusting.

  22. orange_slice231 says:

    This doesn't sound to good me. Plus, it has those artificial sweeteners I hate in it.

  23. This is the worst drink ever!!! I didn't think someone would ever create a pop that makes me want to puke it back up! I just can NOT believe that this even exists! WOW! My advise is TAKE IT OFF THE MARKET NOW!

  24. Made me and my mother sick to our stomachs. My mom bought me this thinking it was a normal pepsi as a drink. I opened it in the truck after her laughing because of an odd bubble standing out from the others. I took a one sip of it and spit it out my open window and looked at the bottle thinking she had bought me a Pepsi max or if it was past it's due date. When I seen it was Dragon fruit I almost throw up because I can't ever eat the fruit without getting sick. I handed it to my mother to try and she asked me what I added to my drink to make it taste so bad. She was shocked that Pepsi would make a drink that was so discussting to drink. My dad couldn't even drink it and he loves Pepsi. Never again. We're keeping the bottle as a reminder to never drink that kind again.

  25. Picked up a 12 pack for $1.19 at the local grocery store. I should have known better since this stuff was in the clearance isle. It was all I could do to get the first can down. The second was somewhat easier as I new what to expect. I think it might be drinkable mixed with Captain Morgan. I will not be purchasing it again even at just over a buck for a 12 pack.

  26. this soda is so not good. sugar and calories
    bad taste pepsi should do better

  27. It leaves the smell of alcohol on your breath…

  28. Courtney and Timesha says:

    Dear Pepsi,
    Im going to put this in a nicest way possible, but your Pepsi X Dragon Fruit flavored cola is RACHEET and RONCHY as HECK!!!!!!! It taste so NASTY that you should be ASHAMED of it and yourselves!!!!!! So If I was you I would RECONSIDER CONTINUING TO SELL THIS PRODUCT!!!!!!!!! JUST SAYING but its like TOTS LEGIT NASTY!!!!!!! >.<
    Dont know why you guys thought that it was a good idea to make such a RACHEET RONCHY TOTS LEGIT NASTY DRINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BTW IT IS NASTY AF!!! HOPE YOU TAKE THIS IN CONSIDERATIONS!!!!!!!

  29. I found more of this stuff at a store called ALPS a few days/weeks ago. At that store, it sitting along side the Pepsi Next for .39 cents.

  30. Actually, it might .79 cents since I only remember seeing a 2 liter bottle.

  31. I love this Pepsi with dragonfruit!! Those who say it's nasty or otherwise is working for coke. To hell with them all. I bought 50 2 liter bottles and am still enjoying them. I am loving every sip, drink and taste of it and wish they would actually put it on the shelves and keep it there. I did use the coupons they sent out; and I did buy them at .99 cents. I have everything Pepsi. This includes stickers, decals, clocks, coolers, machine, patches and much more including antiques. Those who down Pepsi work for coca-cola companys, the same drink that made me vomit!! To hell with them all. Pepsi can't keep the shelves stocked with fresh bottles of the pop for more than a week. I've seen dust on the coke bottles.

  32. Brenda Jefcoat says:

    Please tell me where it is sold in Meridian Ms. I love this. It is the best soft drink I have ever tasted and I don't care how much sugar or anything else has in it. You only live once.

  33. Christine says:

    My boyfriend & I LOVED this drink. I don't really drink soda but I'm addicted to this! Please bring it back!!!!!

  34. This stuff is gross!! I picked up a two liter of this stuff at save-a-lot. It was priced .79 cents with a .50 cent coupon on it lol I should have known. I ended up pouring a glass for my dad and sisters also. A unanimous wtf ensued after the first swig!

  35. Christine, I have a 12 oz can of this remaining; give me five dollars and pay shipping and it is yours. That way I can buy a case of REAL soda… :)

  36. 1. I'm not a big pepsi drinker. I prefer coke.
    2. I absolutely do not drink diet drinks.
    That said, I was given a 20 oz pepsi x. I didn't think it was terrible.
    Given a choice I would still choose coke but I did enjoy this 20 oz while I had it.
    All in all I would drink it again ; I didn't even notice the artificial sweetener.

  37. NASTY!!

  38. Kookachoo says:

    I bought this Dragonfruit Pespi X (or whatever it's called) accidentally. It was on display at Target along with a slew of X Factor cups which were free if you bought a 12 pack. Silly old me didn't realize it was a new flavor so I grabbed it (and my "free" cup). Only after I poured it in my new spiffy cup did I realize it was a new flavor (it has a reddish tint and smells perfume-y).

    I don't give a damn if this makes me a "stupid American" but this crap is VILE! It's oddly sweet in a chemical sort of way. Almost like a mixture of good ol' regular Pepsi and some kind of floral cleaner. I tried to force myself to drink it (after all, I did buy an entire 12 pack of this mess) but gave up after half a can and threw the rest away. Shame on me for not paying closer attention to what I was buying but I think Pepsi designed the can and box to look like regular Pepsi so people would buy. I noticed another store had a display of this junk and, after looking more closely, it's obvious Pepsi Co is trying to dupe people into buying this. Most companies go out of their way to advertise new or limited edition flavors so I think Pepsi knew this swill was disgusting and are now trying to unload this crap.

    I mean, it's great if you like it I'm not into limited edition drinks or wacky new flavors. If I want some tropical junk in my Pepsi, I'll stick a mango in it.

  39. Was given a can of pepsi x a few days ago from a nice person i met while working at the beach, So i tossed it in my lunchbox and when i got home placed it in the fridge. Now its sitting in front of me (chilled) next to my sandwhich i got from ???? in the box and thought i would google this drink before opening it, Discovering all your guys reviews on this drink intrigues me if im about to puke this thing up or go racing to the store for more, Anywho somethings i want you (who's ever reading) to know before you hear my opinion . Ive been drinking soda (all brands) for a Loooooong time (when the cans/bottles were not throwback) so im not biased to any company, Much like music it just depends on the mood im in , Pepsi Coke RC DP MD whatever if its cold its going down some tasting better than others on moody days. Also im honest and ive never reviewed ANYTHING ( Im a review virgin this is my first time) okay maybe TMI but im opening this can now here goes (PHHHHHHF) numph nump neph , Okay its different Ill give it that, nump neph (another sip) very sweet different linger after taste BUT NOT THAT BAD i would buy this on sale to have something different but do like regular and cherry pepsi better. Cant see how people could use words like HORID and Nasty but guess ive got alot to learn about reviews , Oh and pepsi , keep working on other flavors im all for it . TRY PLUM !!!

  40. Art Norquay says:

    If anyone has some Pepsi with dragonfruit or know where to get some, PLEASE tell me where and I will send you some mony so you can have them shipped to me. I do wish Pepsi would bring this flavor back, I'd glady pay $1.50 to $2.00 a bottle if they did

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  1. [...] favorite of the marketing world, dragon fruit is being infused into everything from rum, vodka, a flavored Pepsi, an antioxidant tea to an air freshener and a scented candle.  Dragon fruit is low in calories, [...]

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