PepsiCo, the parent company of Mountain Dew, is launching a caffeinated morning beverage that could be an alternative to coffee.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a 16-ounce Starbucks Latte contains approximately 150 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, and a Starbucks Pike Place brewed coffee has 330 mg. A similarly sized can of the popular energy drinks Monster and Red Bull contain roughly 160 mg of caffeine.
Talk about a morning jolt.
But for those who don’t like the taste of coffee or energy drinks, how do you get that extra ‘pick-me-up’ in the morning? Tea? Maybe. A can of soda? No way, that’s not a morning drink – until now.
PepsiCo recently announced that they will be launching Kickstart: a ‘new sparkling juice beverage from Mountain Dew®.’ Kickstart, which will be released in retail stores nationwide on February 25th, offers ‘a refreshing and energizing take on your morning routine.’
The new beverage, which will have a taste resembling Mountain Dew, will be released in both ‘Orange Citrus’ and ‘Fruit Punch’ flavors. Additionally, in contrast to a regular can of Mountain Dew, Kickstart will also contain five percent real fruit juice, roughly 92 mg of caffeine for that extra ‘kick,’ and only 80 calories per 16-ounce can.
The one segment of the beverage market that soda giants like PepsiCo and Coca Cola have had the most trouble breaking into over the years has been morning beverages. Sure, each colossal company owns brands featuring juice and water in the breakfast segment, but the flagship brands have been relatively unsuccessful at making inroads into the morning market. Kickstart may be the cleverly veiled answer.
The energy drink market has grabbed a share of the morning beverage market and has grown by double-digit percentage points in recent years, but with greater scrutiny on caffeine and sugar levels, as well as the mysterious ingredients often included in energy drinks, the market has developed an opening for a ‘healthier’ alternative. Kickstart promises to fill this void by still providing a healthy dose of caffeine, while also contributing, if only slightly, to your juice, Vitamin B, and Vitamin C intake.
While it’s almost laughable that Kickstart is the new ‘healthier’ alternative, even labeling itself as a ‘sparkling juice beverage’ when it only contains 5% juice and is clearly most similar to soda, the drink does contain only 80 calories, as it’s sugar content is reduced through the use of artificial sweeteners (which the jury is also still out on).
For those who are used to their usual 330 mg of caffeine from Starbucks, and presumably enjoy the taste, Kickstart won’t be a viable option. But, for everyone else that wants caffeine (but is afraid of overdoing it with an energy drink), dislikes the taste of coffee or energy drinks, or would like a soda substitute for their morning routine, Kickstart could be the start of an entirely new market segment.
John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest, certainly thinks that ‘Kickstart could signal the emergence of a new category that plays off the promise of energy and other health benefits,’ especially as energy drink growth slows.
What do you think? Are you ready to ‘kickstart’ you day with a can of Orange Citrus?