Pepsi plans to test blue can in US

Pepsi Cola is to test its blue can design in the US from the start of next month, following the launch of Project Blue across the rest of the world last April.

At the time of the launch Pepsi said it had not decided whether to introduce the blue can into its home market.

The US design will differ slightly from that used elsewhere and will be tested in Des Moines, Iowa and New Orleans.

Pepsi chose the two areas, according to industry sources, because in Des Moines it outsells Coke significantly, while it trails Coke in New Orleans.

Pepsi has said the total launch cost for Project Blue will be $500m (320m) by the time it is completed. Since the launch, Pepsi has introduced the blue can into 20 markets, representing about 40 per cent of its volume sales.

Part of the rationale of Project Blue was to differentiate the brand from Coca-Cola, especially outside the US where Coke outsells Pepsi by a wide margin. In the US, excluding the diet brands, the two main brands are much closer, so changing the packaging carries more risk.

Pepsi recently announced a restructuring which will see the drinks company reduce annual operating costs by more than $100m (64m).

Alan Mitchell, page 32

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