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Pepsi will soon launch a new cola made with real sugar and lime juice that is aimed squarely at Hispanics. The line extension, called Pepsi Limon, will hit stores beginning May 18 in Chicago, California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
If it sounds familiar, that's because PepsiCo has tried similar products in the past around the world. A few years ago in the U.S., the marketer sold Pepsi Lime and Diet Pepsi Lime, but those versions have since been discontinued, according to a spokeswoman. Pepsi Twist is still available in Latin America. Diet Coke sells a lime version that includes citric acid.
Pepsi Limon is made using real lime juice and cane sugar, unlike the previous U.S. version that was artificially flavored. The idea came from an internal Latino/Hispanic employee group called Adelante, whose mission is to create a diverse culture within PepsiCo.
"They told me we need lime," said Al Carey, CEO for PepsiCo Americas Beverages, who teased the launch at a beverage industry function in Chicago on Tuesday called The Beverage Forum. So, the company came up with a lime-flavored Pepsi that resembled other versions that have been previously tried, he said. But the Adelante group told him, "No, we need real lime juice in the product," he recalled.
The resulting product contains 2% real lime juice. The launch will be supported by in-store marketing, radio ads, PR, digital and sampling, according to the spokeswoman. The ad agency handling the line extension is SA Studios Global, while PMK BNC is leading PR.
"I will not be surprised if this ends up becoming a very big success in those markets," Mr. Carey said.
Ideas from Adelante have a pretty good track record. According to a 2011 story posted on hispanicprblog.com, the group has played a role in bringing several PepsiCo products to the market, including Flamin' Hot Cheetos and Tapatio-flavored Doritos and Ruffles.