Soft drink makers Coke and Pepsi are testing a cola that has fewer calories than the original and a different flavor than the diet version often turned to by weight-conscious consumers. The concept is called mid-calorie cola. The idea is to market a product in the middle, one that offers good taste but with only a fraction of the calories of regular soda.
Pepsi has announced that its lemon-flavored cola, Pepsi Twist, will soon be available in a caffeine-free version. A spokesperson for Pepsi says that the new beverage is expected to appeal to cola drinkers who enjoy the flavor of Pepsi Twist but do not wish to consume caffeine.
Soft-drink giant Coke will soon combine elements from two of its latest creations, Mid-Calorie Coke and Vanilla Coke, to create a beverage that will be known as Mid-Calorie Vanilla Coke. Coke will also begin distributing caffeine-free versions of Vanilla Coke and Diet Vanilla Coke. The company is rumored to be testing a version of Vanilla Coke that has a somewhat, but not entirely, reduced caffeine level.
Correcting an oversight, Coke will soon rush-distribute a caffeine-free version of Mid-Calorie Vanilla Coke. A Coke spokesperson said, “Now cola drinkers who desire a mid-calorie, vanilla-flavored cola that has no caffeine can at last be a part of the Coke family.”
Three new Pepsi beverages will soon be available at your local Pepsi store. The first, PepsiCK, will be thirty per cent Coke. The second, Pepsi300, will feature a traditional amount of vanilla flavoring and three times the calories of regular Pepsi. It will be available in five different caffeine levels. The third drink, Chunky Pepsi, will contain whole cocoa beans. This beverage has tested well among older cola drinkers. (Coke, not to be outdone, will begin distributing its own chunky soda, Coke Grovestand, next year.)
Coke has announced that Coke Grovestand will be made available in a mid-calorie version.
Next year, Pepsi will introduce a line of carbonated beverages that have more sodium than any previous cola. The first of these will be Caffeine-Free Diet Vanilla Mid-Lemon Pepsi with Additional Sodium, in a version that has a reduced amount of potassium benzoate. The beverage will have a national ad campaign starring Christine Todd Whitman. A Pepsi spokesperson said, “We have found that, of our customers who enjoy the refreshing taste of Caffeine-Free Diet Mid-Lemon Pepsi, there are several thousand who enjoy vanilla flavoring in addition to the physiological effects of a very high sodium intake. Then, of those valued customers, there are four—maybe six—who desire the possible health benefits of consuming less potassium benzoate, a preservative we use in our diet colas. We believe that these customers are the authors of a 1989 study in which potassium benzoate was found to cause cancer in several rats. Though their findings are questionable, we salute the bright scientists of the Birnbaum-Halliday study, and we hope they will try our new soft drink.”
Coke, after nearly twelve decades in business, is closing its doors. Coke cited as reasons for this the failure of its many CokeLand shops, and Pepsi’s growing dominance in the increasingly important field of specialty colas. Although Coke triumphed steadily in one area—that of its Double-Diet No-Vanilla Neapolitan Okay-Some-Vanilla Cherry Coke—profits from that beverage were insufficient to counterbalance Pepsi’s considerable gains. (In the past year, Pepsi has seen record sales from its Caffeine-Blast Pepsi Wintergreen, Pepsi 18-34, and Cool-Ranch Pepsi varieties.) “We congratulate Pepsi,” a Coke spokesperson said. “Pepsi won this. It was a tough fight. More power to them, I say.”