PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi conceded Monday that cola has lost some of its “cool factor.”
Speaking at Beverage Digest’s “Future Smarts” conference in New York City, Nooyi said that craft soda, like PepsiCo’s own Caleb’s Kola, may be the key to restoring some of cola’s allure.
“I think there is actually a huge potential for craft,” Nooyi said.
PepsiCo launched Caleb’s Kola earlier this year. Nooyi said it has a distinctive taste that is “catching on,” but she didn’t disclose any early sales figures.
PepsiCo, like other major soda companies, is suffering from an industry-wide decline in soft drink sales as consumer demand grows for healthier beverages with less sugar and artificial ingredients.
“Health and wellness was fashionable to talk about three to five years ago and today has become very mainstream,” Nooyi said.
Consumers’ idea of “health and wellness” over that time period has also evolved from a focus on diet drinks and foods to natural ingredients and exercise, she said.
Nooyi said the company is investing more than ever on “big bets” to keep up with changing consumer tastes.
“We are rolling the dice on a lot of new ideas right now,” she said, while noting that the company is being careful not to take “foolish risks” or “ride on a single fad.”
Dairy is one area where the company is experimenting right now, she said. The company also recently launched Pepsi True, a mid-calorie soda sweetened with Stevia.
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