By DOUG WILSONHerald-Whig Senior Writer
Mountain Dew has a new breakfast drink the company hopes will appeal to juice drinkers who want some caffeine, but not as much as in energy drinks or premium coffee.
Mountain Dew Kickstart should be on store shelves this month in the area, according to Chris Kirn, general manager at Refreshment Services Pepsi of Quincy.
"We're very excited about this package," Kirn said.
He got to sample Kickstart during a convention in Las Vegas. Kirn said the orange citrus and fruit punch flavors should be popular.
PepsiCo Inc. officials said both flavors are made with 5 percent juice and vitamins B and C, along with low carbonation and 92 milligrams of caffeine in a 16-ounce can. Kickstart will be marketed in the breakfast drink section, in the soda aisle and with the energy drinks although it falls far short of the 142 milligrams of caffeine in some of those products. A regular can of Mountain Dew has 72 milligrams of caffeine.
Kirn said the 80 calories per can also may be attractive to traditional juice drinkers who want less sugar. Some of the top-selling fruit juices have 110 calories in eight ounces -- more than in a Kickstart can containing twice as much beverage.
"We're really blessed to have Wis-Pak (bottling company) in Quincy bottling these new products. I think they're going to appeal to people from any walk of life," Kirn said.
PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., is hoping to boost sales by reaching Mountain Dew fans at a new time of day: morning. The drink comes in the same size cans as popular energy drinks made by Monster Beverage Corp., which also offers options with juice content. And the TV ad features young men skateboarding, reminiscent of the marketing themes used by energy drink makers.
Simon Lowden, chief marketing officer for PepsiCo's Americas beverages, says the idea for Kickstart came about after the company learned through consumer research that Mountain Dew fans were looking for an alternative to traditional morning drinks such as coffee, tea and juice.
"They didn't really see anything that fit their needs," he said.
Lowden said Kickstart was developed independently from a Taco Bell breakfast drink introduced last year that combines Mountain Dew and orange juice.
With the growth of energy drinks such as Monster and Red Bull expected to slow, Kickstart could also signal the emergence of a new category that plays off the promise of energy and other health benefits, said John Sicher, publisher of the trade journal Beverage Digest.
The promise of "energy" has been a big seller in the beverage industry in recent years, with the energy drink market increasing 17 percent in 2011 even as broader soft drink consumption has continued to decline, according to Beverage Digest. PepsiCo and the Coca-Cola Co. have largely watched that growth from the sidelines, however, with players such as Monster Beverage and Red Bull dominating the market.
The Associated Press provided information for this story.