CONSUMER

Pepsi is ditching Sierra Mist for a new Sprite rival

Jan 12, 2023, 3:40 PM
Starry, a new lemon-lime soda, is hitting store shelves this week. (Starry via CNN)...
Starry, a new lemon-lime soda, is hitting store shelves this week. (Starry via CNN)
(Starry via CNN)

(CNN) — Pepsi is reaching for the stars in its latest effort to take on Sprite.

Starry, a new lemon-lime soda, is rolling out to grocery and convenience stores this week. It’s replacing Sierra Mist, a 24-year-old brand that has failed to gain traction against market leader Sprite, which is owned by main rival Coca-Cola.

Pepsi’s internal research showed that “demand for lemon lime flavored soda has never been greater,” the company said in a statement. That prompted Pepsi to develop a new lemon-lime soda that gives “people a choice in an area that’s been dominated by one brand for years.”

Starry is caffeine-free and is rolling out with two options: regular and sugar free. A Pepsi spokesperson told CNN that Starry has a “higher citrus flavors that are true to fruit and more aromatic” compared to Sierra Mist.

Sierra Mist launched in 1999 to much fanfare, however it never made much of a dent in Sprite’s dominance. Neil Saunders, managing director of retail for GlobalData told CNN that it’s a “confused brand” that looks like an “imitation of Sprite.”

“At a time when growth in traditional soda is sluggish and when the shelves are being flooded with new and innovative beverages being a tired second-tier player doesn’t really cut it,” Saunders said. He pointed out that brief rebrand to Mist Twist between 2016 to 2018 was “pointless” because it confused consumers.

Sales data from Beverage Digest given to CNN shows that Sierra Mist’s share of the soda market barely exceeding a tenth of 1% and has been on the decline for at least the past five years. Sprite, meanwhile, has grown its share of the soda market over the same time period to nearly 8%.

Starting from a clean slate, Pepsi is positioning Starry toward younger drinkers (i.e. its Gen-Z-appealing slogan that infuses internet slang: “Starry Hits Different”) that shifting away from consuming sugary drinks and and are becoming to loyal to smaller brands, like Olipop, that have their “finger more firmly on the pulse,” Saunders said.

“The [beverage] giants are aware of this and are trying to fight back as a way of growing market share and tapping into a market they don’t serve as well as they should,” he said. “The design of Starry is much more aligned with the Gen-Z aesthetic, which is bright, fun, whimsical, Instagramable, than many of Pepsi’s other offerings.”

Pepsi is planning to promote Starry with TV and digital ads, as well as having a presence on social media like TikTok.

Despite the daunting task ahead for Pepsi to take on a rival that is more than 60 years old, it could be an opportunity for Starry, according to Billy Roberts, a senior food and drink analyst for Mintel.

“Starry enters a market segment dominated by the Coca-Cola brand and, at the same time, is a new brand in an already-crowded carbonated soft drink category,” he said. “However, this could be to its advantage, bringing something new into a category where younger consumers have shown a penchant for breaking away from the tried-and-true to experiment with new flavors and formulations.”


The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Consumer

An apparent shortage of pharmacists is forcing CVS and Walmart to reduce the hours of its pharmacie...
Jordan Valinsky

CVS and Walmart cut pharmacy hours, close some locations earlier, citing staffing shortage

An apparent shortage of pharmacists is forcing CVS and Walmart to reduce the hours of its pharmacies, as they close earlier in thousands of locations.
2 days ago
Susan Lee Wilson, attempting to use her phone after another outage. (KSL-TV)...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Salt Lake woman battles phone company to fix 12-year-old landline problem

You pay for phone service, so you would expect to receive phone service. But when a Sandy woman’s landline kept going dead for more than a decade, she decided it was time to Get Gephardt.
6 days ago
An image from Customs and Border Protection shows eggs that a traveler attempted to bring into the ...
Zoe Sottile

As egg prices rise, so do attempts to smuggle them from Mexico, say US Customs officials

Officers at the San Diego Customs and Border Protection Office have seen an increase in the number of attempts to move eggs across the US-Mexico border.
7 days ago
Organic labeled vegetables are  offered for sale at a grocery store on January 19, 2023 in Chicago,...
Associated Press

New USDA rule boosts ‘organic’ food oversight, targets fraud

The Agriculture Department issued new requirements for foods labeled organic, a move aimed at cracking down on fraud and boosting oversight.
10 days ago
A carton of eggs. (File)...
Tamara Vaifanua

The food staples you should buy when they go on sale

Grocery prices keep going up, so today, we're sharing the food items you should buy when they go on sale.
10 days ago
Exterior view of a Party City store on January 18, 2023 in Miami, Florida. Party City Holdco Inc. f...
Associated Press

Party City, amid rising prices, seeks bankruptcy protection

Party City is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after struggling with rising prices and a pullback in customer spending.
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Pepsi is ditching Sierra Mist for a new Sprite rival