PepsiCo sets its sights on Gen Z with Starry, a Sprite competitor

    PepsiCo has started rolling out its latest soda, a lemon-lime offering called Starry. In promotional materials, the beverage giant said the product targets Gen Z consumers.

    Starry competes with Coca-Cola’s Sprite, and is available in regular and zero sugar versions. Promotional materials for Starry refer to the drink as a “purpose-driven brand built for Generation Z” and “a crisp, refreshing formula with a bite to win share and grow the category.” Starry’s packaging also said the soda is a “fun escape” that also takes “steps on sustainability.”

    PepsiCo first debuted Starry at the National Association of Convenience Stores show in Las Vegas last October. This week, several influencers received samples of the soda from the company and posted reviews of it on YouTube. It has also been spotted at stores across the country, such as Kroger and Walmart.

    Since the early 1980s, PepsiCo has launched various beverages over the years that aimed to take on Sprite, such as Slice and Storm.

    Its current lemon-lime soda offering Sierra Mist, which launched in 2000, has faced dwindling sales over the past decade and may be discontinued, AdAge reported. PepsiCo has attempted to revamp the soda in the past, briefly changing its formula to include stevia sweetener in 2015. That year, it also renamed the drink Mist Twist, before reverting back to Sierra Mist in 2018.

    The attempts have not proved fruitful, as Sierra Mist only had 0.1% dollar share of carbonated soft drinks as of last October, compared to 6.9% for Sprite, according to Beverage Digest. Given the popularity of the lemon-lime soda space, launching a product with its own branding aimed at the lucrative Gen Z consumer segment could allow PepsiCo to gain market share.


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