- PepsiCo recently announced plans to launch a new drink called bubly in an effort to take over the sparkling-water market from beloved category leader LaCroix.
- “I think we were made for the flavored sparkling water category,” PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said Tuesday.
- We taste tested bubly and compared it to LaCroix — and the established, cult-favorite sparkling-water brand demolished Pepsi’s newcomer.
PepsiCo is gearing up for war with LaCroix — a sparkling water brand with a cult following — in an effort to take over the $1.2 billion sparkling-water industry.
Last week, the beverage giant announced the launch of a new brand called bubly. The beverage gives PepsiCo a key opportunity to cash in on sparkling water’s growing popularity — especially among millennials — as soda sales slump.
“I think we were made for the flavored sparkling water category,” PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said in a call with investors on Tuesday.
LaCroix is the clear leader in the sparkling-water market, and sales have skyrocketed in recent years. However, bubly may prove to be a worthy competitor. Credit Suisse analyst Laurent Grandet wrote in a note to investors in January that the brand has the potential to exceed $100 million in retail sales in 2018.
According to Nooyi, the drink is worth the hype. She said bubly “tastes fantastic” and has been beating out competitors in taste tests.
So, we decided to do a face-off of our own, pitting bubly against its biggest competition, LaCroix.
First things first — bubly’s cans are cutesy to the degree that they inspired some slight eyebrow-raising from our taste testers.
LaCroix’s aesthetic is unselfconsciously tacky in a way that isn’t “’80s-inspired” so much as something that looks like it has been collecting dust since the ’80s. This is what has helped make it iconic, as it doesn’t look like anything else on the market.
Meanwhile, bubly’s cans — with greetings on tabs and messages such as “I feel like I can be open around u” — feel precisely on-trend. It falls in the uncanny valley between adorable and trying a little bit too hard — you can imagine the endless rounds of focus group testing as creators tried to calibrate the exact level of twee.
Of course, what matters is what’s inside the cans. The grapefruit flavor was considered the best of the bunch by our taste testers.
The carbonation levels are well-calibrated. The bubbles level is not too overpowering, but they certainly make their presence known, something that proved to be a positive in all the bubly we tasted.
The grapefruit flavor itself isn’t very strong. In fact, the burst of grapefruit scent that escaped when we cracked open the tab was stronger than the actual taste.
The scent phenomenon continued with the lime flavor, which filled our noses with the smell of lime Jell-O when we popped the can. That’s right, lime Jell-O — not lime.
The flavor doesn’t taste bad, but it also doesn’t taste like much. If anything, it’s reminiscent of an extremely watered-down cup of lime Jell-O that has somehow been transformed into a sparkling water. PepsiCo says that bubly uses all natural flavors, which makes the distinct smell and taste of lime Jell-O especially bizarre.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
We tested Pepsi’s new drink designed to win over millennials against the cult-classic beverage it emulates — and the winner was clear