Pepsi looks to chip away market share with Gen Z slang, and professional tongues

The soft-drink giant takes another run at rival Sprite’s lemon-lime dominance.

PepsiCo’s CEO speaks English, Spanish, French, German, Greek, and Catalan, but it’s his brand’s familiarity with Gen Z colloquialisms that may leave the competition ghosted.

breakdown of lemon-lime soda market

At a time when soda consumption is declining — down 12% in the last decade — PepsiCo’s latest lemon-lime soda release promises to “hit different.”

Called Starry and launched in January, it’s an “optimistic” soda for an optimistic generation, so they say. (Not sure the data fully supports the Gen Z being optimists thing, but we’ll go with it.)

Fifth time’s the charm?

Following in the footsteps of Sierra Mist, Slice, Teem, and others, Starry is PepsiCo’s latest in a long line of lemon-lime liquids (say that 10x, fast).

PepsiCo’s goal here? To evaporate some of Sprite’s 73% market share, by entering the market with a pop — Starry is already the official soft drink of the NBA and WNBA.

The Coca-Cola Company’s Sprite has long been the lemon-lime king, holding a high Gen Z favorability rating and the endorsement of the King himself.

PepsiCo has a long way to go — yesterday, Coca-Cola reported global sales rose 5% in Q1 to $11B, beating expectations.

On PepsiCo’s snack front…

… It’s more of a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of situation. The owner of Cheetos, Doritos, Lay’s, Tostitos, and more, PepsiCo sees humanity eating potato chips so long as the sun rises.

To keep up with health trends, though, it’s now focused on making its unhealthy options a little less bad — by paying a team of highly trained operatives $20/hr to help taste test less salty and sugary snacks and drinks, per The Wall Street Journal.

Testers are reportedly not supposed to say “mmm” or “ugh,” but rather judge foods on flavor notes like “earthy,” “cardboardy,” and, um… “painty.”

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Topics: Food

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