Folks who argue that coffee just doesn’t cut it as a way to find and maintain morning energy are in luck. PepsiCo Inc. is introducing a new drink this month called Kickstart that is flavored like Mountain Dew. The drink has five percent juice, Vitamins B and C, and a little bit of caffeine to top it off.
Although intended to give consumers energy, PepsiCo claims that it doesn’t necessarily consider Kickstart an energy drink because it still has less caffeine than Monster or Red Bull. They are also quick to note that Kickstart, although it comes in a similar looking 16-ounce can as Monster and Red Bull, doesn’t contain any of the mysterious ingredients that have put mainstream energy drinks on the lawmakers and consumer advocates hot seats.
The drink comes in numerous different flavors, including “energizing orange citrus” and “energizing fruit punch.” Kickstart could give the company a door into the energy drink market but will hopefully keep them out of the energy drink controversies.
According to Simon Lowden, the chief marketing officer for PepsiCo’s Americas Beverages, the idea for Kickstart came after the company learned that Mountain Dew fans were looking for an alternative morning drink that wasn’t coffee, juice or tea. Lowden emphasizes that Kickstart was developed independently of Taco Bell’s drink that combines Mountain Dew and orange juice.
John Sicher, publisher of the trade journal Beverage Digest says that Kickstart could be the start of a new category of energy drinks that promises both energy and health benefits, which comes at a convenient time in light of the controversy surrounding the health concerns of mainstream energy drinks.
“It’s a very interesting experiment capturing a number of attributes,” Sicher said.
Kickstart uses artificial sweeteners to reduce the caloric content to 80 calories.
Energy drinks have been under scrutiny lately with the Food and Drug Administration launching an investigation into the safety of high levels of caffeine being consumed by younger people.
Kickstart, unlike other energy drinks, has only 92 milligrams for a 16-ounce can. A 16-ounce cup of Starbucks coffee has 330 milligrams of caffeine.