Is New Diet Pepsi Max All That?

3-pepsimax-062507.jpgLook out fellas… a new diet pepsi is coming just for you! Marketed as a diet and energy drink, “invigorating” Diet Pepsi Max has ginseng and more caffeine than diet pepsi and is meant to rouse men out of that 2 p.m. slump.

Don’t expect a caffeine buzz, unless you are really sensitive to caffeine normally. The amount of caffeine is only 46 mg in 8 oz, one third less caffeine than the same amount of coffee.

Ginseng is a chinese herb that is believed to have medicinal properties when taken in high clinical doses orally. Some of the uses include: stress reduction, as a nourishing stimulant, as an aphrodisiac, and in the treatment of type II diabetes and sexual dysfunction in men.

The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine at NIH says the research on any potential benefits of ginseng is not conclusive enough to prove any health claims due to small, flawed studies.

Ginseng is currently used in enegry drinks and teas (including new Pepsi Max), but in amounts so small there is no measureable medicinal effect.

Pepsi is pouring its largest investment into a new brand in a decade — as much as $55 million — into Diet Pepsi Max. More on the marketing from Ad Age.

My take? Very small differences between this new brand and Diet Pepsi. If you currently drink Diet Pepsi and could use a little (but not a lot) more caffeine then this might be for you. If you drink regular soda, I’d at least give this one or any diet soda a try. You’ll get less calories and sugar. Don’t bank on any benefit from the Ginseng – and don’t get suckered in to paying more for this “energy” drink than diet pepsi.

About these ads

11 Responses

  1. This is a moronic line extension for Diet Pepsi. If they wanted to launch a product in the ‘energy’ category, they should launch a new brand (not a Diet Pepsi line extension).

  2. I’ve seen this ad hype and it’s an ‘eye-roller’ for sure. Even my tween let out a big “chyeah, sure.” This is much like the hilarious “Diet Coke Plus” bit…and here’s a line up of all the ‘vitamin/nutrient’ claims in the NYTimes to see how pervasive this new strategy is:

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/diseasesconditionsandhealthtopics/vitamins/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier

  3. I should add that Shaping Youth tracks a lot of the energy drink caffeine jolts via this blog here, as they save me considerable time with their microfocus on deconstruction/comparative analysis like this one on DPMax comparing it to Mountain Dew Amp:

    http://www.energyfiend.com/2007/02/diet-pepsi-max-with-more-caffeine

    From an advertising/mktg. standpoint it’s interesting that they’re targeting men, big time on this one…I have all the Ad Age links if you need ‘em, Rebecca. ttys, –Amy

  4. Hi Amy –

    Thanks for the link! Please do keep me posted on any marketing related info via your blog :)

    The only real value I see from the nutrition side is if people do switch from any regular soda to any diet soda for the sugar and calorie benefit. Do you know one regular soda has more than 100% of the added sugar you should have per day. There is no minimum requirement – so it’s 100% of the “max”-imum.

    My hubby (who is the target market) is already a diet soda drinker and his thought is “it might be good, but it has to taste good and it has to work e.g. give him energy”.

    Time will tell if it lives up to the marketing.

  5. [...] energy drinks in mix-n-match combos. Nutrition guru Rebecca Scritchfield deconstructs it for us in her blog, Balanced Health & [...]

  6. What’s the scoop on FDA labeling of caffeine, do you think it will ever be a ‘callout’ on the cans? I still get befuddled by all the muddy waters between the structural/functional nutrient claims, dietary supplements etc.—but with the amount of $$ being spent on energy drinks/caffeine blends, it seems it’s only a matter of time before it all comes tumbling down as it relates to kids/research…

    Pls. keep me abreast of any news along these lines.

    I’ve embedded the new CSPI aspartame study link and a few marketing links (triple the spending for this brand it looks like? wow!) plus a sound off on ‘fortified soda’ by Dr. Katz at Yale…It’s on Shaping Youth here: http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog/?p=522
    titled “Maxed Out On Energy Drinks?” and redirects our readers back to your blog…

    btw, I saw Ratatouille this weekend and it’s a MUST SEE for all!! I’ll be writing about it soon, along w/Mike’s new blog launch (he calls it a ‘glob’ in keeping w/their hopeful pbs TV food pilot for kids themed “Doof ” which is “Food” backwards…pinging him to come aboard the team, too.

    http://www.foodbackwards.com

    Have a healthy and sparkling 4th! –A.

  7. I’m excited for Ratatouille myself! Hey, at least we will all finally learn to spell it.

    I plan to include a future healthy recipe for ratatouille. Very yummy.

    Anyway, to answer the FDA question on caffeine with little background research… it’s not a requirement because it is considered a GRAS additive (generally recognized as safe).

    According to this article from Feb 2007, Coke and Pepsi both plan to disclose caffeine on the label: http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/news/ng.asp?n=74478-coca-cola-pepsico-caffeine-labeling

    View the Nutrition, Lableling, and Education Act (the law that allows the FDA to control the food label)

    http://www.fda.gov/ora/inspect_ref/igs/nleatxt.html

  8. Hi Rebecca, wanted to add this gawdawful tidbit on PepsiMax to media/marketing’s impact on the world…

    Here we go again on the ol’ objectification/tattoo bit. http://www.pepsi.co.uk/tattoo/

    AND…it’s not even NEW raunchy creative! This ‘play with me’ bit is completely ripped off & pilfered!

    I reported on this at Shaping Youth almost a year ago here: http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog/?p=61

    AND also a variation on it with that exact phrase here: http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog/?p=373

    How can the soda giants get away with this sans backlash? Guess it must be the ‘behemoth’ factor…sheesh.

    p.s. I’m finally back from Women Leaders for the World…and WAY behind on the Shaping Youth blog! Ping me when time avails, –Amy.

  9. I drink Diet Pepsi Max. It gives me a little pick up but I don’t think any more than any other cafinated beverage, but I prefer the taste over regular Diet Pepsi.

  10. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more articles from you in the future.

    – Jack

  11. In England Pepsi Max is marketed as “maximum taste,” and it is a diet drink. There is no mention of more caffeine or ginseng. In my opinion British Pepsi Max is a lot sweeter than Diet Pepsi, but there must be a lot more artificial sweetener in it because it makes me feel sick!

    I can’t tell the difference between American Diet Pepsi Max and Diet Pepsi, taste wise.

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