Pepsi Hopes New Line of Craft Sodas on Tap Will Boost Sales

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With fancy flavors and healthier ingredients, PepsiCo  (PEP) is hoping a new line of craft-like soda will help change the public's perception of soft drinks and reverse declining sales.

The line, called Stubborn Soda, will be dispensed from a new soda fountain and feature eight flavors, including Lemon Berry Acai and Orange Hibiscus. The new options will be made with natural flavors and certified cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.

Pepsi's announcement comes as soft-drink makers worldwide try to attract customers back to their products. Industry-wide soda sales have fallen for 10 consecutive years, according to a report by Beverage Digest.

Pepsi's carbonated-drink volume in North America fell 2% in the fourth quarter, although its success with juices such as Tropicana and Naked, as well as sports drink Gatorade, helped to lift non-carbonated drink volumes by 4%.

The Stubborn Soda line will be served from a machine designed with taps, the company said, playing on the craft beer movement, which generated $19.6 billion in 2014, according to the Brewers Association.

"Introducing it on fountain with an engaging piece of innovative equipment offers consumers a new take on the traditional soft-drink experience while also creating value for customers," a company spokesperson said in a statement.

Pepsi did not give a specific release date, saying only that the product will be available in select regions as early as this summer.

Since October, Pepsi has released two other craft-type sodas -- Caleb's Kola and Mountain Dew Dewshine -- both of which are sold in glass bottles and made with cane sugar instead of artificial sweeteners. Pepsi also announced in April that it was discontinuing its use of aspartame as a sweetener in Diet Pepsi sold in the U.S.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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