PURCHASE, NY. – PepsiCo, Inc. is striving to power up its energy beverage platform. The March 2020 acquisition of the Rockstar brand has given the company a position in the “pure energy” marketplace, but management is pulling multiple levers to build PepsiCo’s presence in the category.
It has been approximately six weeks since PepsiCo relaunched Rockstar with new formulations and new packaging.
“It’s too early to call whether we’re really bringing new consumers to the brand and whether those consumers stay with the brand,” said Ramon Laguarta, chairman and chief executive officer, during an April 15 conference call to discuss first-quarter results. “I think we’re going to need a few more quarters to really understand what’s happening at the consumer level.”
As the Rockstar initiative continues, the company is taking additional steps to broaden its position in energy beverages. One is offering options for the morning daypart.
“We have identified the morning occasion as an open opportunity that is not well covered by existing propositions,” Mr. Laguarta said.
“Energy is our next big space.” – Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo
In addition to its line of ready-to-drink Starbucks products, PepsiCo has launched Mtn Dew Rise to capitalize on the insight. Rise is described as an energy drink formulated to offer a mental boost and immune support. The beverage is formulated with approximately 180 mg of caffeine (compared with 77 mg in original Mtn Dew soda), vitamins A and C, antioxidants, citicoline, zinc and fruit juice. It has no sugar and 25 calories.
“The early feedback we’re getting from consumers and retailers is very good,” Mr. Laguarta said. “The teams are full on in terms of distribution.”
PepsiCo has entered a marketing arrangement with basketball star LeBron James to promote and build awareness around Rise.
The leaders in the US shelf-stable non-aseptic energy drinks category are Red Bull North America and Monster Beverage Corp. with $5.7 billion and $4.2 billion in category sales, respectively, according to Information Resources, Inc., Chicago, for the 52-week period ended March 21. The sales data includes total US multi-outlets with convenience stores.
Rockstar ranks a distant fourth in the category with $756 million in sales and other PepsiCo brands have $63 million in sales.
“Energy is our next big space where we have multiple tools that we will use very incrementally to each other to drive, hopefully, share gains … in what is a very dynamic category,” Mr. Laguarta said.