Raw deal for Pepsi?

I read your coverage of the early death of the all-natural Pepsi Raw (MW 6 September).

Confused: Health vs natural debate

Pepsi’s corporate vision is to move its portfolio into “the health space” so you can readily see how Raw came out of an innovation workshop. Add a snappy name, nice bottle and the right taste and surely you have a sure-fire winner?

Yet “natural” and “healthy” are not the same things. More important, they are easily mixed up in consumers’ minds. Yes, there is a trend towards sophisticated consumers looking for natural products, but its focus is mineral waters and fruit juices with brands like Innocent and Glaceau.

Instead, Raw and its massmarket brother Pepsi, are firmly in the relatively unhealthy fizzy drink arena. In these circumstances naturalness is no substitute. Raw’s all-natural proposition was hardly a healthy one – raw cane sugar is calorie rich and still rots your teeth.

The brand may have papered over these cracks in the on-trade, but in grocery Raw confused us – particularly when so much effort has gone into developing diet fizzy drinks using “unnatural” chemicals to replace sugars.

Portfolio planning means exactly that. Each product in the portfolio must relate to the others. Enter Raw, cue dissonance.

Nick Dormon
Managing director, Echo

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