US – American multinational food, snack and beverage corporation, PepsiCo, has pumped a fresh breath of live into its soft beverage brand Mountain Dew, expanding its product range to feature a watermelon flavored soda called “Major Melon”.

This is the first time in more than a decade that the popular soda brand is launching a permanent flavor. The last permanent flavor was White Out, a citrus-flavored Mtn Dew that appeared in 2010.

According to a statement from Mountain Dew, the soda is available throughout the United States in regular and zero-sugar varieties.

Both the regular and zero sugar beverages will come in 20-ounce bottles, 2-liter bottles, 12-packs of 12oz. cans and other single and multipack sizes.

Nicole Portwood, the vice president of marketing for Mtn Dew, said watermelon was the No. 1 choice of the flavors that were tested among fans, and that it evokes “feelings of freedom and nostalgia.”

The launch of the new flavor comes at a time when soda volumes globally have shrunk as consumers start to favor functional beverages and startup companies strive to redefine the category with lower-sugar and better-for-you offerings.

This has forced soft beverage manufactures such as PepsiCo to look for alternative avenues to boost their bottom lines.

Despite declining soda sales overall, the category remains big business for PepsiCo, with its Mtn Dew brand commanding more than 6% share of the market in the United States, according to Statista.

In addition to reducing the size of some of its cans to increase margins, the company has given its Mtn Dew brand a jolt by adding an energy drink line and introducing a sugar-free version of its original soda last year.

In the past, PepsiCo has used its Mountain Dew platform to brand its energy drinks such as Kickstart, GameFuel and AMP.

The company has also tested temporary flavors for Mtn Dew such as its limited-edition Liberty Brew, which has 50 flavors in one bottle.

The launch of the  Major Melon is also interesting as it comes at a time when many companies have streamlined portfolios to favor more popular flavors and products.

PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay snack division cut about 21% of its SKUs during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.

Analysts at Food Dive however note that having an inventive flavor that appeals to consumers’ nostalgic notions through a familiar legacy brand may prove to be a good bet for the company.

A report last year by snack giant Mondelez found that more than half of consumers are buying nostalgic childhood brands. This offers a positive outlook for Mountain Dew’s new Major Melon soda.

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