PepsiCo Introduces a Mountain Dew Breakfast Drink: Kickstart

KickStart Mountain Dew Pepsi Breakfast DrinkBy CANDICE CHOI

NEW YORK -- If you don't like coffee or tea, Mountain Dew has a new breakfast drink that might perk you up.

PepsiCo (PEP) is rolling out a new drink called Kickstart this month that has Mountain Dew flavor but is made with 5 percent juice and Vitamins B and C, along with an extra jolt of caffeine.

The company, based in Purchase, N.Y., is hoping to boost sales by reaching Mountain Dew fans at a new time of day: morning.

PepsiCo said it doesn't consider Kickstart to be an energy drink, noting that it still has far less caffeine than drinks like Monster and Red Bull and none of the mysterious ingredients that have raised concerns among lawmakers and consumer advocates.

But Kickstart, which comes in flavors such as "energizing orange citrus" and "energizing fruit punch," could nevertheless give the company a side-door into the fast-growing energy drink market without getting tangled in any of its controversies.

It also comes in the same 16-ounce cans as popular energy drinks made by Monster Beverage Corp., which also offers options with juice content.

Simon Lowden, chief marketing officer for PepsiCo's Americas beverages, says the idea for Kickstart came about after the company learned through consumer research that Mountain Dew fans were looking for an alternative to traditional morning drinks such as coffee, tea and juice.

"They didn't really see anything that fit their needs," he said.

Lowden said Kickstart was developed independently from a Taco Bell (YUM) breakfast drink introduced last year that combines Mountain Dew and orange juice.

With the growth of energy drinks such as Monster and Red Bull expected to slow, Kickstart could also signal the emergence of a new category that plays off the promise of energy and other health benefits, said John Sicher, publisher of the trade journal Beverage Digest.

In a nod to the growing concerns about sugary drinks, for example, Kickstart also uses artificial sweeteners to reduce its caloric content to about half that of regular soda; a can has 80 calories.

"It's a very interesting experiment capturing a number of attributes," Sicher said, likening it to Starbucks' (SBUX) Refreshers drinks, which promise "natural energy" from green coffee extract.

The promise of "energy" has been a big seller in the beverage industry in recent years, with the energy drink market increasing 17 percent in 2011 even as broader soft drink consumption has continued to decline, according to Beverage Digest. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola (KO) have largely watched that growth from the sidelines, however, with players such as Monster Beverage and Red Bull dominating the market.

But the surging popularity of energy drinks has also led to sharper scrutiny. This summer, New York's attorney general launched an investigation into the marketing prices of energy drink makers including Monster and PepsiCo, which also makes Amp. Lawmakers and consumer advocacy groups have also called on the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the safety of the high levels of caffeine in energy drinks for younger people.

Although Kickstart may look like an energy drink, it has far less caffeine, at 92 milligrams for a 16-ounce can. A comparable amount of regular Mountain Dew would have 72 milligrams of caffeine while a can of PepsiCo's Amp energy drink has 142 milligrams, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

By comparison, a 16-ounce cup of Starbucks coffee has 330 milligrams of caffeine.

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They should get Motley Crue to do the commercial and sing Kicksart My Heart

February 12 2013 at 4:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pepsi hasnt been anything special since the days of Joan Crawford....

February 12 2013 at 12:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

drinking orange juice is better breakfast

February 12 2013 at 12:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Candice do your homework before you ink out something like this. Pepsi-Co already is in the energy drink market and to top it off it already taste like mountain dew; AMP energy drinks.

February 11 2013 at 9:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like it.

February 11 2013 at 8:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Everything that is old is new again. When I started drinking Mt. Dew in the 1970's it still had orange juice (concentrate) in it.

February 11 2013 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh great, so the moms who let their young children drink Mountain Dew will now give them this crap thinking it is a breakfast drink so how bad can it be. Just what we need more kids hype up with caffiene and sugar.

February 11 2013 at 7:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to labroadt's comment

So we all know soda's aren't good for you...blah blah blah. I still loved to indulge occasionally, Mt. Dew and Dr. Pepper being my favorites. However, I recently found out that most sodas (and energy drinks, including Gatorade) contain a small amount of a flame retardant that somehow keeps the ingredients from separating, hence, keeps the coloring pretty. Straight up vile. Needless to say, after learning that, it hasn't been hard to kick my soda habit completely at all.

February 12 2013 at 1:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

5% juice, and 95% chemicals, artificial sweetners, sugar and high fructose corn syrup. I wish more people would try eating a healthy breakfast - they'd feel much better in the long run.

February 11 2013 at 6:44 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Bad idea Pepsi. I'd rather see you try Pepsi Clear again.

February 11 2013 at 6:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Try eating a healthy breakfast with a regular cup of coffee. Stay away from that 'high test' poison.

February 11 2013 at 5:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply