Mountain Dew's new lemon-lime flavor takes aim at Sprite, 7up

You will now be able to do the Dew in a new flavor -- and the move could shake up the carbonated-beverage market.

Mountain Dew will launch its latest version, a lemon-lime soda called Mtn Dew Ice, on next Monday, PepsiCo announced.

The new drink treads on Coca-Cola’s turf with Sprite and Dr Pepper Snapple Group's 7Up. Like Sprite and 7Up, Mtn Dew Ice is clear. The original version is known for its iconic neon green color. There's one key difference, though. Mountain Dew's version has caffeine, an ingredient found in colas but mostly missing from the lemon-lime category.

Lemon-lime isn't a rapidly growing flavor. According to the Beverage Marketing, a consulting and research company, it represented 9.92% of carbonated soft drinks consumed in 2016, compared to 9.76% the year before and 11.33% in 1990, the farthest back its data goes.

The lemon-lime category has two core consumer groups -- parents who buy the drink at the supermarket for their family and multicultural Millennials looking for a refreshing beverage, said Roberto Rios, PepsiCo North America Beverages' senior vice president of marketing for carbonated soft drinks.

"What was missing was something that would give them a charge, like Dew does," he said. The charge comes from caffeine, a stimulant.

Brett Cooper, a vice president at the New York-based boutique equity research firm Consumer Edge Research, said the Mountain Dew brand has been suffering a bit lately.

A new flavor "is consistent with what we’ve seen over years," he said. "They have an innovation track record and the need to get Mountain Dew growing again."

Mtn Dew Ice is a permanent addition to the Mountain Dew line-up, like cherry Code Red and orange Live Wire. The company also creates limited-time varieties, like this summer's purple Dew-S-A and red Holiday Brew during the holiday season. Dewshine, introduced in 2015, is a craft soda -- clear in color, and citrus-flavored and made with real sugar.

That Mtn Dew would make a move was foreshadowed by PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi's comment during the company's analyst call in October.

"We underperformed the industry in carbonated beverages. This summer, we directed too much of our media spending and shelf space to new low-calorie, much smaller brands at the expense of our Pepsi and Mountain Dew trademarks," she said. "We are stepping up marketing spending on Pepsi and Mountain Dew."

During the third quarter, PepsiCo's North American beverages division's revenues were $5.33 billion, down 3% from $5.52 billion for the same period in 2016.

PepsiCo's other big soda brand is its namesake Pepsi.

Mtn Dew Ice will come in 20-ounce and two-liter bottles and 12-ounce cans. The 20-ouncer has 167 calories and the can, 100, according to PepsiCo. There is no diet option.

PepsiCo stock closed at $117.99, down 68 cents or 0.57%, on Monday.

© 2018 USATODAY.COM


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment