You know low-carb dieting is truly a craze when the soda aisle goes Atkins.
The corporate fistfight between Coca-Cola and Pepsi has tumbled into the realm of the fashionably fit, as both megabottlers roll out low-carb versions of their anchor products.
Coca-Cola is first to the store aisles with C2, released today. This black-script cousin of Coke claims less than half the carbohydrates, less than half the sugar and half the calories of its classic namesake.
"We’re responding to what consumers are telling us they want," Coca-Cola President and CEO Don Knauss said in a news release.
Pepsi will follow with its own "mid-calorie" soft drink, Pepsi Edge, which will appear on store shelves later this month. The "edge" is half of the carbs and sugar and less than half the calories of its flagship brand. Pepsi claims the new product is a response to the groundswell of soda drinkers seeking a more nutritious delivery system for rich cola taste.
"This will enable consumers to enjoy a great-tasting cola without all the sugar, carbs and calories of regular colas," Pepsi’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer says on the PepsiCo Web site. "Now people can reward themselves for just about any moment."
The lofty talk of "consumers" and "freedom" makes it all sound oddly presidential ("Next on ‘Meet the Press’: C2’s prescription drug plan.") But rhetoric aside, C2 does have the full, balanced cola taste — without the sour kick of most diet drinks. C2 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does give drinkers the same Coke with half the sugar, which is something.
That puts the ball back in Pepsi Edge’s court this month — unless, of course, someone invents lowcarb water.