Is Pepsi next the next Big Thing in Sodas?

We pitted this lower-calorie cola against two brandmates

Consumer Reports magazine: August 2012

The claim. “Drink it to believe it,” says the campaign for Pepsi Next, a “game changing cola” with fewer than half the calories of regular Pepsi yet “real cola taste.” It was recently introduced nationwide.

The check. We drank it to see whether we believed it. Specifically, we provided full, unmarked (except by color codes) cups of Pepsi, Pepsi Next, and Diet Pepsi to 87 Consumer Reports staffers. After sipping, each volunteer filled out a questionnaire.

Bottom line. Some of our guinea pigs were believers, others weren’t. Overall, staffers liked regular Pepsi best, followed by Pepsi Next, then Diet Pepsi. The same order held for people who usually drink regular cola. (Poor Diet Pepsi: 26 percent of staffers overall agreed with the statement “I would not drink it again—ever.”) But people who usually drink diet soda liked, in order, Pepsi Next, Diet Pepsi, then Pepsi.

Our results suggest two things: If you drink sugared cola because you dislike the taste of diet, Pepsi Next may be a good alternative, letting you cut calories but enjoy a taste fairly similar to that of regular cola. And if you drink diet cola because you don’t want all the sugars of a regular one, Pepsi Next may also make sense: You might like the taste better and won’t consume very many extra calories. And if you’re trying to avoid calories as well as artificial sweeteners? Try seltzers.

Cola comparison



Calories (12 oz.)


high-fructose corn syrup


Pepsi Next

high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose


Diet Pepsi



Editor's Note:

A version of this article appeared in the August 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine with the headline "The Next Big Thing for Pepsi?"

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