In a dramatic formulation change, the late February release of Pepsi Next in Canada is sweetened quite differently compared to the version we have here in the U.S.
While Pepsi Next initially rolled out in early 2012 as a mid-calorie Pepsi sweetened with HFCS, aspartame, Ace-K, & sucralose, in May 2013 the company announced they were removing aspartame from the mix. The marketing pitch was that Pepsi Next contained 60% less sugar and calories vs. traditional Pepsi.
The Canadian formula only features 30% less sugar, however it’s also sweetened with “real sugar” and stevia. (Apparently, the Australian version of Pepsi Next will also feature stevia). Pepsi’s official site notes that “Canadian research confirms that the Pepsi NEXT recipe provides a great cola taste that consumers love with 30% less sugar and calories versus the leading regular cola.”
One wonders if the Canadian reformulation is a test for an eventual change in the U.S. market, as Next hasn’t exactly set the beverage world on fire (even with a few short-lived flavor extensions). While the Big 3 soft drink companies have toyed with stevia on lesser brands (especially Coke, with Sprite Select, Fanta Select, and the international push of Coca-Cola Life), we’ve yet to see deployment of the sweetener on a flagship brand in the U.S.
Have you tried Canadian Pepsi Next? What do you think of the sweetener combination?
Special thanks to BevReview reader Max Tuju for the heads up!