PepsiCo heightens cola war, set to launch Pepsi Café

The term ‘Cola Wars’ was coined in the US in the US to describe the advertising and marketing tactics of The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo against each other. Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been the dominant players in a majority of countries, and both have continued to place their respective marketing communications on positions initially formed during their respective inceptions. For example, Coke’s advertising has traditionally focused on wholesomeness, nostalgia and the family as a nourishing unit, while Pepsi on the other hand, has been positioning itself as a youthful brand that keeps up with the aesthetic and social shifts which take place with the emergence of every new generation of young people.

PepsiCo, the international carbonated drinks manufacturing giant, has indicated its readiness to introduce a new variant of its beverage drinks brand called Pepsi Café.

The new cola/coffee brand which is billed to be launched in major markets across the globe, starting from April 2020, is a blend of real coffee and cola, and according to the manufacturer, will come in two variants; the original and Vanilla tastes. The cola giant disclosed also that the new coffee-flavored cola was coming with twice as much caffeine as its original classic soda.

The introduction of Pepsi Café by Pepsico is expected to heighten the cola war in global markets, coming just months after Coca-Cola rolled-out its own blended beverage Cola plus Café.

Coca-Cola had announced early this year that it was launching Coke Coffee in 25 international markets and now PepsiCo has promised to introduce its own coffee flavored cola drink in the US, starting in April 2020. The brand had previously tested Pepsi Kona in the US market in 1996.

Pepsi Café, which will come in both Original and Vanilla varieties, is a cola-forward beverage with a hint of roasted Arabica coffee flavour and nearly twice as much caffeine as regular Pepsi.

The new drink isn’t exactly a 50/50 blend of cola and coffee, in fact the people at Pepsi worked diligently to find the perfect balance of the two flavours.

Pepsi Café Original leads with cola flavor and has a subtle but unmistakable coffee finish.

Pepsi Café Vanilla, meanwhile, leads with a vanilla cola flavour and a tasty hint of coffee.

Both flavors come in 12 oz. slim cans, and both have almost double the amount of caffeine found in regular Pepsi.

Commenting on the new development, Pepsi’s Vice President, Marketing, Todd Kaplan said: “We know that the consumers today are looking for products that meet the needs of energy, indulgence, and refreshment during that afternoon pick-me-up occasion.

“At Pepsi, we’ve known the potential of blending cola and coffee for years and after striking the perfect balance, we cannot wait to introduce Pepsi Café to the US next year.”

He continued: “We are confident that cola fans, iced coffee drinkers and anyone in need of an extra caffeine boost will love the unexpected flavor medley of roasted coffee infused into the refreshing, crisp flavour of Pepsi.”

While the flavor mash-up is a controversial one, had the chance to taste both varieties of Pepsi Café ahead of its launch — and found them surprisingly tasty.

Certainly, the brand has found ways to improve on the concept, since it has introduced coffee-cola hybrids before.

In 1996, the company tested Pepsi Kona in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, marketing it as a breakfast drink.

The test run ended in 1997 and the drink never made a national debut, though Pepsi contends that the product was ahead of its time.

Pepsi Cappuccino was introduced a few years later in Russia, Romania, other parts of Europe, but was also eventually discontinued, as was Pepsi Max Cino, which was sold for less than a year in the UK.

PepsiCo believes that the market is now ready for a cola-coffee drink, particularly with a growing demand for ready-to-drink iced coffee products.

PepsiCo’s announcement comes after Coca-Cola unveiled Coke Coffee last spring.

The Coke-coffee hybrid was to debut in 25 markets by the end of the year, though the company has still not indicated whether it will launch it in the US.

They have been testing this new formula under the name Coca-Cola Plus Coffee in Australia since 2017, and have since expanded to Asian markets, where it seems to be performing better.

Coke had also tried the flavor mash-up before, releasing Coca-Cola BlāK in 2006 but discontinuing it in 2008.

Shares of Pepsi, valued at $191 billion, are up about 24% this year, as of Wednesday’s close. Coke’s stock, which has a market value of $231 billion, has risen nearly 14%.


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