Thursday, June 02, 2005

Pepsi Edge, C2 Failed To Meet Low-Carb Criteria

The Motley Fool, popular investment web site, features an op-ed piece from a man named Steven Mallas who proudly boasted "I told you so" about the failure of products such as Pepsi Edge and C2. He concludes these products did not sell well because the "fad" of the Atkins diet has now worn off.

What an idiot! Although they were marketed as "low-carb" diet drinks, they were anything but low-carb. A regular Coke or Pepsi has about 45 grams of sugar per serving. Pepsi Edge and C2 cut that number in half, but that was still way too much sugar for anyone who is livin' la vida low-carb. There are just too many other options for people looking to add zero additional carbohydrates to their daily intake. The failure of these products shows just how very little the soda companies get it.

A better option for people wanting a great tasting, genuinely low-carb diet soda is to drink Diet Rite, Pepsi One or even the new Diet Coke with Splenda. These are all made with Splenda and are incredibly delicious AND sugar-free. Translation: NO WASTED CARBS!

Mallas obviously doesn't get that himself. He'd rather rant and rave about how he just KNEW these low-carb products were gonna bomb because the low-carb craze is over.

Here's how he put it:

"You didn't need to be psychic to see this one coming: PepsiCo is no longer interested in the sort-of-diet-soda market. The company intends to cease production of low-carb Pepsi Edge by January 2006."

All I can say is good riddance. This product was nothing more than a farce anyway. Nobody who knew what they are doing on a low-carb lifestyle got within 100 feet of this stuff. Taking away just a little sugar did nothing but distort the taste and make it taste very weak. Yes, I tried a sip of it for myself and gave the rest to my wife. It was just not worth blowing my daily carb limit, especially when there were better-tasting diet sodas such as Diet Rite that completely satisfied my desire for a sweet ZERO CARB soda. The "sort-of-diet-soda" just didn't cut the mustard!

As a stockholder in Coca-Cola, Mallas said he was critical of that company's similar product called C2 and even compared it to the "New Coke" debacle from the mid-80's.

But Mallas wasn't content with just saying "I told you so." No, he has decided to use this opportunity to make a lot of assumptions about low-carb diets that have no basis in reality.

"PepsiCo is smart not to fight the marketplace. Trying to create demand where none exists would waste shareholders' money. Investors must remember that companies should always try new products, even if they do seem a bit silly. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola were trying to surf the Atkins-diet wave in creating these sodas, but both companies overestimated the country's fondness for that fad."

Uh, no, these soda companies did not try to "create demand where none exists." Instead, what they did is they tried to create products to meet a very real demand, but failed because the products they created did not fill the needs of that demand. Did they even bother to ask what a person doing low-carb REALLY wants? Not likely.

For a better indication of how well the low-carb market will respond to a new product, I suggest Mallas keep his eyes on the sales of Diet Coke with Splenda. While it still contains caffeine, most of us who are livin' la vida low-carb are thrilled that one of the major soda companies is starting to meet our needs. From what I hear, there have been brisk sales on this new diet soda offering that indicates a heightened interest from those of us with a "fondness for that fad." Hey, I thought a fad was supposed to fizzle out. Low-carb must be the eternal fad!

Mallas concluded: "I predict Coca-Cola will soon abandon C2. Let's hope the logic of responding to the lackluster market for low-carb drinks is as clear to Coca-Cola as it was to Pepsi.

Actually, it looks like Coca-Cola is just getting started. I applaud them for releasing Diet Coke with Splenda and I highly encourage them to make a caffeine-free version as well several of their popular flavors to continue the momentum they are building with their REAL focus on the low-carb market. Thank goodness they are finally waking up that low-carbers want a diet soda that meets the low-carb criteria and not just some made-up product that carries the low-carb label.


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