Coca-Cola for decades (IS) – Get a free report and PepsiCo (FUT) – Get a free report fought over who had the tastiest cola. That led to the famous “Pepsi Challenge” marketing campaign, which started in 1975 and has been used regularly ever since.
The premise was simple. People were asked to taste both Pepsi and Coke in a blind taste test and, at least according to the ads, Pepsi was the overwhelming winner.
In reality, people swear by one brand over another, and the question “which is better?” is really just for marketing campaigns and individual tastes.
The battle for supremacy of Coke and Pepsi has spread across many different soda areas. Both recently changed their “zero sugar” recipes (using the word diet is now taboo). And PepsiCo also recently killed off its lemon-lime Sierra Mist brand and replaced it with Starry, another attempt to dethrone Coke’s Sprite.
In recent years, that battle has expanded beyond soda to juice, water, energy drinks, iced tea, and more. That’s largely because soft drink sales peaked in 1999 in the US.
“After peaking in the late 1990s, per capita soft drink consumption has fallen every year since then,” wrote IbisWorld. “The reasons behind the decline are twofold: an increase in health awareness and an increase in price. Carbonated soft drinks offer little nutritional value, even though many of these drinks provide a full recommended daily sugar intake in a 12-ounce can.”
That’s one look at why. In reality, it is also possible that consumers simply have much more choice and opt for other drinks.
Coca-Cola is moving to mixers
Recently, Coke and Pepsi have been dipping their toes into alcoholic beverages. That is an adjoining space where both have chosen to work with partners.
In June 2021, PepsiCo launched a new line of non-alcoholic mixers designed to capitalize on the growing craft cocktail market.
“The premium mixers, called Unmuddled, will hit shelves in September,” Spirit Business reported at the time. “The range comes in three flavours, which are made with juice and contain no artificial sweeteners.”
Pepsi’s Unmuddled line includes:
- lemon mint, which the company described as “cool, spicy, refreshing and light,” with a spicy note designed to pair with tequila, gin or whiskey.
- Fiery Pineapple combines its namesake fruit with a spicy kick and is recommended to mix with vodka, rum, tequila or mezcal.
- Spiced Mandarinwhich is designed to blend ‘seamlessly’ with any spirit, although tequila, gin or whiskey are recommended
A few months before it launched Unmuddled, PepsiCo released Neon Zebra, another non-alcoholic mixer line.
“They are designed to appeal to younger consumers who spend more time at home and want to avoid complicated cocktail recipes or large format mixers,” RetailDive reported.
Now Coca-Cola has followed its old rival in the craft cocktail mixer space.
Coca-Cola’s Simply brand is launching a mixer line
Coke’s Simply brand is one of the company’s juice efforts. The core line offers juices, lemonades, and almond milks that are marketed as all-natural. Now the brand has moved on to cocktail mixers with an offering called Simply Mixology.
“The line of fruit-forward, all-natural flavored juice drinks made with the same true-to-life ingredients fans have come to expect from Simply Beverages’ fast-growing portfolio are made to be enjoyed with or without alcohol,” said Coca-Cola. in a press release.
“Three Simply Mixology varieties – Strawberry Guava Mojito, Lime Margarita and Peach Sour – will be available in 52 oz bottles in the refrigerated juice aisles of grocery stores across the United States beginning January 23.”
Coca-Cola pointed out that the new line responds to multiple trends: an increase in cocktail consumption and more people drinking non-alcoholic mocktails.
“We know Simply has been a favorite mixer for 20 years — you can make a mean screwdriver with Simply Orange Juice, a great Cape Codder with Simply Cranberry, and a great margarita with Simply Limeade,” adds Alex Ames, creative director for nutrition. . at Coca-Cola North America.
“With Simply Mixology, we wanted to find a way to simplify and enhance the drinking experience at home with great-tasting, natural solutions that not only make great mixers, but also stand alone as ready-to-drink mocktails,” Coca-Cola added.