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Pepsi Café to Combine Soda and Espresso: Good or One other Me-Too Product?

by Matt Weik

In the past I wrote an article about Coca-Cola with coffee (Coca-Cola Plus Coffee). Now Pepsi seems to want to play in the same sandpit too. It has been published that in 2020 PepsiCo will launch a Pepsi Café drink that has a rich coffee taste in addition to the cola taste for which they are known. Will the Pepsi Café strain people's bank accounts or will it be an idiot?

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Pepsi + coffee = Pepsi Café

I will be the first to say that I have to try it when it comes to coffee. In this case, however, I'm on the fence. I don't have Coca-Cola Plus coffee in my hands yet, and to be completely honest, I'm not a fan of Pepsi in terms of taste. So I don't think I want to buy this product unless someone gives it to me or a restaurant I visit, sells it and I can only buy a glass.

With this in mind, I think this product will sell – at least initially. The reason I'm saying at the beginning is that at this point we don't know what it actually tastes like. So the first try at Pepsi Café may be good, but if the taste isn't there, PepsiCo won't see many repeat buyers.

I see a lot of brands jumping on the coffee trolley and I've written a lot of articles about them in recent years. I see more and more beverage brands (as well as supplement companies) using coffee in products just because it's the most consumed morning drink in America. People cannot get enough coffee in their lives and what used to be just a morning drink is now consumed at any time of the day (even at night when people sit down to relax or burn the midnight oil).

What the press releases say …

As far as I know, the Pepsi Café will be launched here in the United States around April 2020. The Pepsi Café will be available in both an original flavor and a vanilla flavor, and both will be sold in 12-ounce cans. The original tastes just like Pepsi in combination with coffee, while the vanilla aroma adds another dimension to what the original aroma has to offer.

Pepsi once had a Pepsi Kona, which was a cola coffee product, but it didn't last long here in the US (the test was back in 1996). This new Pepsi café is said to contain about twice as much caffeine compared to a normal can of Pepsi (but only corresponds to one cup of coffee) – ideal for those looking for extra caffeine in their drinks.

Why should Pepsi try to enter the coffee area?

If you look at the statistics, this is an easy answer. People start drinking less soda. This is not just for health reasons, but many cities across the country are now introducing a "soda tax" that heavily taxes sugar-based beverages. While the consumption of soda is declining, the consumption of coffee drinks is increasing. Hot coffee, iced coffee, frozen coffee, everything and everyone sells well.

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They have brands that enter the C-Store / petrol station with coffee-soaked and coffee-based products. Dunkin Donuts has its bottles of iced coffee available everywhere. Starbucks has long sold its range of cold and frozen drinks in C-stores / petrol stations. It makes sense why brands enter the room to attract the consumers who may have lost them because the population is no longer drinking soda and to buy them again with a coffee product that resonates with them.

In addition, at the time of writing, Coca-Cola has not yet released Coca-Cola Plus caffeine on the U.S. market. This would make PepsiCo the first cola brand to come onto the market with a cola coffee product.

However, there is a limitation, and that means PepsiCo says that the Pepsi Café will only be available for a limited time. I can only assume that this means that this is a trial version. If this fails, they can be ended without any problems. But if it catches fire and sales are booming, it would only make sense to continue producing the product, but I'm not sure what strategy you are pursuing for this Pepsi Café drink. In any case, it should be interesting to see how the product behaves when it arrives on the shelves.

If you are a fan of Pepsi or even PepsiCo products, this is worth trying. I'm a cola guy, but I'm not against trying something at least once. But I would love to hear what you think of the product if you can get your hands on it early or even after its launch in April 2020.

Leave a comment below and let me know your opinion about the product and your opinion about the product (in general), even if you don't try it. Do you think it's a good piece of PepsiCo and one that will sell well, or do you think it will fail, just like Pepsi Kona did many moons ago?


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