A New Pepsi Challenge: Relaxation Beverage Driftwell

Pepsi will soon sell Driftwell, a beverage that will include L-theanine, an FDA-approved supplement for relaxation.
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PepsiCo  (PEP) - Get Report, long famous for its caffeinated, energy-enhancing soft drinks, is now going in the opposite direction: It will soon sell Driftwell, a beverage that will include L-theanine, a relaxation supplement.

L-theanine, cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, is an amino acid often found in green tea, black tea and mushrooms. 

The new beverage is partly a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The need for relaxation has only increased during the pandemic,” Emily Silver, PepsiCo vice president of innovation and capabilities for North America, told Bloomberg. 

The pandemic has helped Pepsi’s sales of snacks but hurt its sales of drinks.

CNBC reported that Driftwell contains 10% of the recommended daily value of magnesium. The drink comes in 7.5-ounce cans and one flavor: blackberry lavender. 

The idea for a relaxation beverage came from employees last year, as part of a company competition implemented by Chief Executive Ramon Laguarta, CNBC reports.

Driftwell represents the fastest production creation ever at Pepsi. It will be available for sale online in the fourth quarter and in stores in the first quarter.

The new beverage is part of the Purchase, N.Y., company's functional line, which targets specific needs for consumers. 

Silver told Bloomberg that Pepsi will market Driftwell as a wellness product. She said the company isn’t considering alcoholic or cannabidiol beverages now.

Some studies indicate L-theanine may improve sleep quality and lessen physical symptoms of stress.

“From a scientific and regulatory perspective, we feel really good about making that claim around L-theanine,” Silver told CNBC. “Specifically, we have safety in clinical data to prove that it works.”

Pepsi recently traded at $136.80, up 0.7%. The stock has firmed 0.5% so far this year.