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PepsiCo’s Big Move in Small Cans

Beverage giant chooses mini-cans to launch disruptive product.

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PepsiCo’s Big Move in Small Cans

AS THE BUZZ CONTINUES about PepsiCo’s Neon Zebra and its potential to disrupt the market with its use of real juice and no artificial sweeteners, the editors at BXP have been talking about how the debut is an example of the continuing popularity of mini cans. While cocktail mixers traditionally are packaged in larger bottles, Neon Zebra is designed to be more friendly for smaller gatherings and to discourage product and packaging waste thanks to its 7.5-oz cans that are infinitely recyclable.

In case, you’ve haven’t heard about Neon Zebra. Let’s give you a quick overview of this product that aims to disrupt the cocktail mixer category. Neon Zebra is marketed as a modern alternative to large format cocktail mixers. A 7.5-oz mini-can of Neon Zebra mixed with a consumer’s spirit of choice makes two cocktails without the need for any additional ingredients. Neon Zebra’s four flavors are made with real juice and have no artificial sweeteners.

PepsiCo is entering the growing cocktail mixers category at a time when today’s homebound consumers are looking for easy-to-make cocktails. In fact, the cocktail mixers category (including total mixers, ginger beer, club soda, and tonics) saw 28% growth in 2020 and is worth more than $858MM.1 Cocktail culture is taking hold at home, and people are looking for innovations that fit their lifestyle.

“With at-home cocktail consumption on the rise, we saw an opportunity to build and disrupt this fast-growing category with a product that meets consumers’ needs for convenience—to cut out time and mess without compromising on quality and taste,” says Emily Silver, vice president of innovation and capabilities, PepsiCo Beverages North America. “Neon Zebra adds a new level of personality in the cocktail mixer category with its bold flavors and colors and easy-to-use, recyclable mini-can format. We’re thrilled with this new venture and all of the opportunities to come in the mixology category.”

PepsiCo’s product developers aim to make classic cocktails wildly easy with Neon Zebra. Consumers simply add a can of Neon Zebra to 3 oz. of liquor before serving the mixed drink over ice. The classic cocktail flavors are:

  • Margarita Mix—tangy and bold with a flavorful citrus kick of lime
  • Strawberry Daiquiri Mix—sweet and fruity strawberry flavor with a hint of lime
  • Mojito Mix—lime paired with the light sweetness of real sugar
  • Whiskey Sour Mix—sour, but not too tart, thanks to a balanced citrus flavor

Neon Zebra has rolled out nationwide in sustainable, recyclable packaging via aluminum cans and paperboard six-packs. Neon Zebra’s go-to-market strategy is decidedly accessible with a MSRP of $6.99-$7.99 for six cans.

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Linda Casey is the editor-in-chief of BXP.

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