PepsiCo’s coffee flavoured cola Pepsi Max Cino is being axed by retailers less than a year after it was launched. Asda, Somerfield and The Co-op are all planning to take the product off their shelves following poor sales.

The drink was launched in January and was aimed at older consumers that want a more sophisticated and smooth taste than regular colas (MW October 20, 2005).

But industry insiders say that it has failed to make any impact. One source says: “It was a horrible, sickly product which completely bombed with UK consumers”.

Another insider points out that it tasted very similar to Vanilla Coke, which was axed by Coca-Cola after disappointing sales (MW November 3, 2005). He adds that Max Cino is “shockingly bad”.

Several retailers say they warned PepsiCo ahead of the launch that Pepsi Max Cino would not work. One retailer source says: “It wasnt refreshing, it was sickly sweet and it simply hasnt performed. I told them it wasnt going to work well definitely be getting rid of it.”

It is understood that PepsiCo hoped that Pepsi Max Cino would provide “niche end growth” for carbonates and bring people into the declining category. But retailers say that all soft drinks manufacturers need to improve their new product development in carbonated drinks.

Another source adds: “There’s nothing clever happening there at all. Nobody seems to be taking the obvious opportunities instead they rely on their big brands and produce poor products.”