Mid-Calorie Soft Drinks: Who Exactly Is Their Market Audience?
LOS ANGELES, August 1, 2012
(Off the menu)
– Mid-calorie soft drinks have a challenge in front of them. Personally, I have a hard time understanding their target audience. There are two types of soda drinkers out there: regular and diet. And honestly, I can’t see either type wanting an in-between.
Let’s start with regular-soda drinkers. They drink regular soda because they hate the taste of diet, pure and simple. As a result, they’re willing to accept the calories. And here’s a little perspective about the concerns of artificial sweeteners: Regular-soda drinkers made their choice long before health officials started going on and on about the potential health effects of aspartame. Ask any person who drinks Coke why they don’t drink Diet Coke, and they’ll always tell you that it started with one thing: Taste.
So given this, there’s only one reason why a regular-soda drinker would make the permanent switch to a mid-calorie product: If it tasted the same. Does it? Most people will tell you no. And if that’s the case, you’re not going to get a regular-soda drinker to switch with only the promise of half the calories.
Diet-soda drinkers are easier to explain. They drink diet because they want the taste of soda without the calories. So even if they like the taste of a mid-calorie beverage, they’re not going to like it enough to accept the extra calories. As I write this, I have a glass of Diet Dr. Pepper by my laptop. I tried Dr. Pepper Ten not too long ago and thought one thing: This sure ain’t worth 10 calories.
PepsiCo Inc.’s Pepsi Next product—a 60-calorie/serving soft drink beverage—illustrates the tough road that mid-calorie sodas travel. According to Symphony IRI’s sales data for the four weeks ending on June 10, Pepsi Next’s volume share fell to 0.6%, down from 1% month-over-month in May. Also according to a Wells Fargo survey, while Pepsi Next has strong distribution within the convenience store channel—94% of retailers say they carry the product—most say that the beverage is generating low repeat sales. Additionally, no retailer surveyed by Wells Fargo said that Pepsi Next was generating strong repeat sales.
Soft drink companies are victims of their own success. They’ve done such a great job of building out the regular and diet markets that there’s been no outcry for a third market—the mid-calorie market—to be created. And until that outcry comes, such beverages are going to languish in mid-calorie no-man’s land.
Nevin Barich is the Food & Beverage analyst for Industry Intelligence Inc., a market intelligence and information management firm based in Los Angeles. Nevin also routinely has a bottle of diet soda by his side when doing his work. He can be reached at email@example.com
Related News: this box contains exclusive content that is accessible only to Industry Intelligence subscribers. Click a link to learn more.
- Worldwide market for 100% juice should return to growth despite global economic slowdown and the recent debate about sugar, driven by emerging growth hotspots and slowing decline in established markets, according to Tetra Pak's 100% Juice Index report
- Canadian volume of milk and cream sold in July totals 244,867 kiloliters, down 1% from year-ago period, Statistics Canada says; milk sales fall 0.9% to 214,077 kiloliters, cream sales drop 2.2% to 30,790 kiloliters
- Global smart water meter market valued at US$839.6M in 2015 and is expected to witness a CAGR of 11.1% during 2016-2025 period, owing to increasing demand for optimal use of water: report
- Chinese consumers drink an additional 545 million liters of sports drinks in 2015 compared to 2014, a 25% volume growth and nearly four times the annual growth rate in the US, Mintel says
- Thirty-two percent of UK consumers who drink sports and energy drinks would cut back on the amount of sugary varieties they consume if the price were to increase, Mintel says; 20% say they would stop drinking such varieties altogether if price increased