Throwback Thursday: That Time Pepsi Was Clear (Again)

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Remember the glory and wonder that was the 90s? The music, the fashion…the CRYSTAL PEPSI!!!

Ok, so it seems like everything that defined the 1990s, from O.J. to Full House, is making a comeback. PepsiCo decided the colorless drink of old should join the party as well. For those who may not remember the short-lived early 90s fad, Pepsi launched a clear version of Pepsi…hence the name “Crystal Pepsi”. Genius, right? For us 90s kids, Crystal Pepsi has become nothing more than a fond memory or a punchline to a joke.

That is…until now. So we beg the question, “but why?”

In recent quarters, PepsiCo has been looking to increase the number of “healthy” drinks in its portfolio, as consumers increasingly move away from carbonated soft drinks. While Crystal Pepsi is a carbonated drink, it is considered to be healthier compared to dark soda. It does not contain ingredients such as caffeine and phosphoric acid, which are considered to be harmful to health. Consumers who have a preference for soda, but prefer avoiding these ingredients could drive the demand for Crystal Pepsi. While this product did not succeed when it was launched in the 90s, its reintroduction this time could bring back the nostalgia factor for its followers. To introduce a “healthier” soda to the younger generation could work in PepsiCo’s favor.

Along with the re-launch of the mythical clear pop (we call it “pop” here, people…yinz better get used to it), the company also plans to release “The Crystal Pepsi Trail”, an online version of its popular 90s computer game “The Oregon Trail”. This is the second limited launch of Crystal Pepsi after it was offered for a limited time in the U.S., through sweepstakes on the Pepsi Pass app in December 2015. As soda consumption witnesses a decline in the U.S., PepsiCo is aggressively looking at making changes to its products to adapt to changing consumer preferences. The revival of Crystal Pepsi appears to be a move to test consumer preferences for clear soda that is considered to be healthier compared to dark cola beverages. Should it be a success, it might eventually lead to the permanent reintroduction of this drink in the market.

There you have it. While I’m not sure any of us back in the 90s drank Crystal Pepsi for it to be a “healthy alternative”, I can almost guarantee none of us today will. But, us Pittsburghers love nostalgia. So give the gift of Crystal Pepsi and drink it in, man! Before we know it, our children will be telling their children stories of that time in 2016 when Pepsi went clear for a summer.

 

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