Analysts say that in terms of launching of a coffee-cola beverage and bringing it into the United States market, it is likely that rival Coca-Cola will be beaten by PepsiCo.
The soft drinks giant Pepsi said that cans of Pepsi Café, that will weigh twelve-ounce each, will hit stores in the United States in April next year but will only be available to customers for a short time period.
While Coke Plus Coffee, the Atlanta-based Coke’s version of coffee based soft drink, is available in the international market, the company is yet to make any formal launch of the product for the US market and US consumers even though there have been speculations for this for months.
“We want to be first to market, and launch this really in the right way,” said Todd Kaplan, Pepsi’s vice president of marketing.
Original and vanilla will be the two flavors that will available for Pepsi Café. Almost twice as much caffeine as in the regular Pepsi will be present in the coffee-infused cola beverage.
In recent years, there has been a distinct trend in the US market of reduction of demand for soda annually which makes this reintroduction of coffee-cola drinks important. Despite the growing trend, both Pepsi and Coke believe that customers would still go for an afternoon pick-me-up that brings together a combined taste of soda with coffee flavors and various coffee flavors.
Coffee-cola drinks have been tried out earlier by the two beverage giants. In 1996, the Pepsi Kona was launched by Pepsi which lasted for a short period of time. Pepsiccino, a creamier version meant to taste more like cappuccino, called Pepsiccino and meant for the international market was launched by Pepsi in 2004. The taste of Pepsi Cafe, which took more than a year and half to develop, was inspired by both iterations.
“We leveraged both of those learnings and then went to the consumer groups and said, ‘OK, what is the right space?’ And it’s somewhere right in the middle,” said Danielle Barbaro, director of research and development.
In 2006, Coca-Cola Blak, the first coffee based drink attempted by Coke was launched in the market before being discontinued within two years. Coca-Cola Plus Coffee was introduced in Australia by Coke in 2017. A year later, the company brought it to Asia for more tests after tweaking the formula.
“We know they have a product as well, but we feel great about the product that we developed,” Kaplan said.
As of Wednesday’s close, a total spike of 24 per cent so far this year was noted in the share price of Pepsi which is valued at $191 billion. There has been a 14 per cent growth so far this year in the share price of Coke which has a market value of $231 billion.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)