7Up adds a healthy Plus

Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, Plano, Tex., in late August introduced 7Up Plus, a low-calorie version of the once popular clear soda with doses of fruit juice, calcium and vitamin C.

Cadbury Schweppes hopes the novel launch will revive the struggling 7Up brand. The new drink is berry flavored with a pink color, instead of lemon-lime and clear like its namesake. It will be backed by a reported $50 million marketing program.

Once the dominant brand in that category, 7-Up has been assaulted by Pepsico’s recent entry Sierra Mist and Coca-Cola’s Sprite — which has undergone a Remix of its own, while its Diet Sprite version will be renamed Sprite 0 by Labor Day. Not only has the carbonated soft drink category been flat, but clear, caffeine-free, lemon-lime drinks have declined. But companies see some potential in healthier options.

To that end, 7-Up Plus has 10 percent of recommended daily levels of calcium and vitamin C and 10 calories per 8-ounce serving. "This is an opportunity to put us back in front with innovation," Gil Cassagne, Cadbury's CEO of American beverages, was quoted as saying.

Pepsi-Cola North America was to launch Mountain Dew Pitch Black (black grape flavor) also in late August, which will stay on store shelves through Halloween. At that time, Pepsi Holiday Spice (ginger and cinnamon flavors) will hit stores for an eight-week appearance through the end of the year.

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