Thursday, April 12, 2012
Note: This is a Presumptive Ephemeral Nom.
Are you a Coke fan? Are you a Diet Coke fan? Rarely will you find a fan of both. Why? Well, many don't realize that it's not only the sweetener that separates Coca-Cola Classic from Diet Coke, but the two also have two completely different flavors/formulae.
In 2004 Coca-Cola introduced in the US a product called Coca-Cola C2. C2 was a variation on Coke Classic which used half artificial sweeteners and half of their normal caloric sweetener; the idea was that this new product would offer a lower calorie drink for fans of the flavor of Coke Classic(as opposed to Diet Coke.) While I thought the product was decent, it ultimately didn't fare very well and was later axed.
Years later, the company perfected their Coke Classic-flavored diet soda, and they called it Coca-Cola Zero, which is now a resounding success. Coke Zero and Diet Coke now sit side-by-side on store shelves and have their own fanbases, since they taste completely different from one another. (Ever wonder what Diet Coke would taste like with normal sweetener? Your answer may lie in New Coke, a Coke reformulation that happened in 1985 which caused a consumer backlash so powerful that the company re-introduced the old formula within months. Many say that the jist of New Coke's flavor wasn't far off from today's modern Diet Coke.)
For some odd reason, Pepsi has just released their version of Coca-Cola C2: Pepsi Next. Simply put, just like Coke did 8 years ago, Pepsi has combined traditional and calorie free sweeteners to create a reduced-calorie drink that's meant to taste like their flagship product. Pepsi Next boasts to be about half the calories of the real stuff.
What's the verdict? I feel that they didn't hit the mark. Even with a good deal of traditional sweetener, the spirit of the original Pepsi is not preserved and it ends up tasting more like Diet Pepsi. This product falls below the quality of the old Coca-Cola C2, even. I'm not sure what Pepsi was trying to do here, or which market they were trying to go after. In an age where Coca-Cola can make calorie-free soda whose flavor is true to the original, I'm not sure that it's acceptable to settle for less from Pepsi.
The overall taste of Pepsi Next may be worse than Pepsi, but it's better than Diet Pepsi. But is its taste good enough to warrant its not-insignificant amount of calories? No.
Pepsi Next: (Passable)
Original Pepsi (for comparison): (Great)