REVIEW: Pepsi Next

Pepsi Next

Update: Pepsi recently reformulated Pepsi Next to not include aspartame. This review is about the original version with aspartame.

Pepsi Next contains a veritable who’s who of sweeteners. The latest addition to the Pepsi line includes the high fructose corn syrup in regular Pepsi, the aspartame in Diet Pepsi, the sucralose in Pepsi One, and the acesulfame potassium in Pepsi Max.

So if you’re someone who yells, “High fructose corn syrup is evil!” or “Aspertame is the Devil!” or “Sucralose will destroy mankind!” or “What the hell is acesulfame potassium?”, Pepsi Next is not for you.

The combining of these sweeteners into Pepsi Next makes it sound as if Dr. Frankenstein had a part in developing it by collecting ingredients from other Pepsi varieties to bring to life a new one.

Or, maybe, he tried to bring back from the dead a discontinued Pepsi, like Crystal Pepsi, Holiday Spice Pepsi, or Pepsi Blue.

(Sidenote: Dear Pepsi: Please bring back Crystal Pepsi, Holiday Spice Pepsi, and Pepsi Blue, even if it’s for a limited time. I would totally play 7 Minutes in Heaven with current PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi to make this happen. Heck, I would also play 7 Minutes in Heaven with her predecessor, Steven Reinemund to bring them back.)

So what happens when Pepsi combines four popular sweeteners in the processed food world into one beverage? According to Pepsi, we get a beverage with real cola taste and 60 percent less sugar than regular Pepsi. But could I see myself replacing my beloved Pepsi Max for Pepsi Next? Also, if it’s discontinued, would I be willing to play 7 Minutes in Heaven with whomever the PepsiCo CEO is a decade from now?

Although it contains three artificial sweeteners and has 60 percent fewer calories than regular Pepsi, it’s really hard to taste anything “diet” about Pepsi Next. But it’s not quite like regular Pepsi; it’s less syrupy and smoother. There are also differences in flavor between Pepsi Next and original Pepsi. I thought Pepsi Next had a slightly stronger cola flavor and, for some reason, my taste buds perceived a hint of lemon, which made me think my taste buds were broken, but a second opinion agreed with me.

Maybe it was my tongue hoping Pepsi brings back Pepsi Twist.

(Sidenote: Dear Pepsi: I don’t really miss Pepsi Twist, so I would not be willing to play 7 Minutes in Heaven with any PepsiCo executive to bring it back.)

Pepsi Chart

Overall, Pepsi Next is quite good. However, I don’t think it’ll replace my beloved Pepsi Max because my go-to soda has no sugar, more caffeine, and I prefer its flavor. I also don’t see it taking the place of Diet Pepsi as my backup go-to soda. Pepsi Next is slightly better tasting, but my taste buds have long gotten used to the flavor of Diet Pepsi, so I’m willing to sacrifice taste to drink something with no calories and sugar. I think many Diet Pepsi drinkers will probably feel the same.

So who is Pepsi Next for?

I think Pepsi Next mainly appeals to are those who want to cut back or stop drinking regular Pepsi because their doctors advised them to or they’re losing their hearing from all people yelling at them, “High fructose corn syrup is evil!” So if you’re one of those people, Pepsi Next could be the Nicorette Gum of Pepsi colas.

(Sidenote: Dear Pepsi: Pepsi Next is good, but if it’s discontinued, I won’t miss it. So the CEO of PepsiCo ten years from now is safe from the possibility of being subjected to seven awkward minutes with me in a closet.)

(Disclaimer: I received a free six-pack of Pepsi Next from the nice PR firm that represents Pepsi. It also came with a card that said I was one of the first 100 people in America to taste Pepsi Next, but I’m not sure that’s accurate since they’ve been testing it in limited locations over the past year or so.)

(Nutrition Facts – 1 can/12 ounces – 60 calories, 0 grams of fat, 60 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Other Pepsi Next reviews:
Grub Grade
Fast Food Geek

Item: Pepsi Next
Price: FREE
Size: 12 ounces
Purchased at: Received from nice PR folks
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Quite good. 60 percent less sugar and calories. Smoother than other Pepsi varieties. Tastes more like regular Pepsi than Diet Pepsi. Playing 7 Minutes in Heaven to bring back discontinued Pepsi flavors. Pepsi Max. If you love consuming a bunch of artificial sweeteners at one time, you’ll love this.
Cons: Spending seven awkward minutes with me in a closet. If you hate sweeteners other than pure cane sugar, you won’t like it. Not really interested in bringing back Pepsi Twist.

113 thoughts to “REVIEW: Pepsi Next”

    1. I am highly allergic to aspartame, sucralose, etc… PLEASE STOP putting these chemicals in Pepsi… Can’t you come up with a lower calorie Pepsi that does NOT have these chemicals in it????

      1. Mary A.—Thank you, thank you, thank you! Aspartame IS poison to a lot of us. I’ve been hoping for years that one of the big companies would come up with a less-sugar soda without replacing the sugar with an artificial sweetener. How about a mix of sugar and stevia?

        1. I completely agree. I’ve tried some of the Stevia based sodas from Whole Foods and other local health food stores, and they’re quite good, not fantastic, but good enough and are naturally calorie free. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and when I stopped consuming anything with asparatame and sucralose, the symptoms went away, and I could stop using my medication. I think the FDA, nutraceutical companies, and Pepsi/Coke are just too good of friends.

        2. What people doesnt seem to realize is there is a whole lot less of each of those ingredients in Next than in diet sodas.

          For those that like diet, this will not replace it, but a wide range people dislike the metallic poisonous aftertaste

      2. I’m with mary!! I just bought a botttle of pepsi next and was so excited to get low cal pepsi.. I have extremely sensitive tastebuds and cant stand the aspertaine in diet sodas. pepsi was what i thought an answer to prays lol.. Filled a glass with ice.. poured it and thought while pouring o good it has that nice pepsi smell.. Took a taste and UGH!!! I said umm y do i taste aspertaime.. omg i bet they mixed regular and diet… sure enough the label said ASPERTAIME!! well my son will like this but I wont.. cant even finish the 1st glass..
        y cant u just make it without aspertaime??!!

          1. Splenda IS ASPARTAME.. they have many names for the poisonous substance, which was initially developed by bio-weapons labs.

          2. Splenda is NOT aspartame. Maybe you shouldn’t “Lol” and spread misinformation if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          3. I bought a 12 pack yesterday. Poured a glass when I got home.. It was nasty. I tried about 5 swallows. What a waste of money. I have felt sick since. No sure if it is the pepsi or not.

        1. Truth is all artificial sweeteners are terrible for you its better for your body to just avoid all of then and stick with the higher calorie sugar as fat you can get rid of but liver damage not so much

        2. I am totally with you. I was excited for this soda to come out and was extremely disappointed in my first taste. It didn’t even occur to me that they would put artificial sweeteners in it since it would still have high fructose corn syrup. I instantly tasted that “diet” taste. Although it’s not as strong as it is in a regular diet soda, that taste is still there. I do NOT like diet soda. I had hoped this was a lower calorie solution to drinking regular Pepsi. Guess not. Bring back Pepsi Edge!

      3. Thank you – I too cant understand why they put all those nasty artificial stuff in there.
        Why not make a Pepse with Half the sugar, and that all nothing added just take away a bit of the sugars.

      4. I can’t understand why they just can’t just release a version of pepsi with less surgar without adding artificial sweeteners. You know, just something with a touch of sweetness. I’m sure there’s a market for it.

        1. That would be sweet. Coca-Cola used to distribute a cola that had 100 calories vs 150 and it had no artificial sweeteners whatsoever, just corn syrup and/or sucrose(cane sugar) depending on the bottling plant and price of sweeteners. I can’t remember the name of it, but I was on a calorie counting weight loss program, 1600 calories per day, and the Coca-Cola 100 calorie stuff was essential to me because I hate artificial sweeteners as well. I was very dissappointed when the Coke product was no longer. Pepsi should try the same. I dring light beer for the same reason, 100 calories vs 150 for regular beer. Even though its a small difference, it helps. Sugar, all by itself, one teaspoon in a cup of coffee is only 15 calories, so where does all the calories in sodas come from?

  1. I just got back from the grocery store where Pepsi products were on sale for 99 cents per two liter. As ALWAYS happens, they had no Pepsi Max left and tons of the other varieties, including this new stuff. I don’t understand why the manager doesn’t say “You know, we always sell 10x more of this Max than everything else combined, maybe we should order a little more.”

    Whatever, I’m just in a crappy mood because I won’t have any Pepsi Max in the morning.

    1. In most cases, the decision for how a vender faces products is left up to sales staff. The managers allocate space, not product. What quantity of product fills the space is determined strictly by numbers. If you feel that this is out of sync, ask your store manager when the vendor for pepsi comes in and speak to that vendor. He might be able to tell you the best times to come in to ensure that the product is on the shelf. That is the best I can do for you…..

  2. I’d probably do some pretty weird stuff in order to get my hands on some fresh Crystal Pepsi or Pepsi Blue.*

    *I may live to regret this comment.

    1. I do hope Pepsi doesn’t stop making Pepsi Throwback which is made from real cane sugar and no high fructose corn syrup. Fructose is a liver toxin and many people experience heart problems after consuming aspertame. So, none of this junk for me and my family. And, if you consider that everything you eat, in order to provide energy, your body turns everything into sugar.

      1. If you’re worried about HFCS I hope you’re not feeding your family Agave Nectar. There’s nothing “natural” about agave nectar. Its processed almost exactly the same way as HFCS and actually contains more fructose than HFCS. Some varieties having as much as 92% fructose. I use stevia, it has been in use by South Americans for about 1,500 years so I think it’s safety has been proven.

      2. Also High Fructose Corn Syrup and “real” sugar are roughly the same as far as fructose/glucose %. The only thing that makes HFCS worse is the fact that most HFCS are made with genetically modified corn. I’m not defending HFCS because they really are unhealthy, but don’t fool yourself into believing that “real” sugar is any better because they’re both still sugar.

        1. This is right, you have to consider the body’s metabolic process. Any “sugar” you consume will be degraded into simple sugars (monosaccharides) before being absorbed.

  3. Haha it seems like theyve thought get everything “unhealthy” and shove it all in one product; i am partial to a Pepsi Max though…mm.

  4. I’ve tried it for the 1st time yesterday. Overall I have to say it’s fairly impressive. While it still has a hint of that distinct “diet taste” we all know (and I hate), it’s definitely MUCH closer to tasting like the real thing than anything else.

    I’ll put it like this, on a 1-100 scale (1 being diet & 100 being original), I would put it somewhere around 60 – 70.

  5. Are you kidding me? So this stuff is a cancer causing cocktail. Almost twice the caffeine as regular Pepsi and more sodium. How’s this Pepsi, dump the artificial junk and bring back old school Pepsi sweetened with sugar, not that GMO sugar from sugar beets, but real cane sugar. Then we would have something different and at least we’d know it’s a bit more natural.

    1. Yeah, I pretty much agree. All this crap they put into our food and drink just because it’s cheap. I want to see a return back to plain old SUGAR.

  6. I saw this in Wal-Mart the other day and when I looked up what it was, I couldn’t believe it. All of that not-sugar in one soda ??

  7. Holiday Spice Pepsi was absolutely amazing. I almost bought some one EBay a few years ago because I was so desperate for more. I eventually came to my senses and decided against it.

    As far as Next goes, I tried it this weekend. It’s nowhere near as satisfying to me as the original, but at least I feel a little less guilty about having a can of soda after work.

  8. Just google pepsico and senomyx and you will find out what the new flarovant in pepsi next really is!!!!

  9. To everyone complaining about the fake sugars, HFCS, etc, etc… You can go down your natural foods aisle and buy cane sugar-sweetened soft drinks from a bunch of different companies. You can also get stevia-sweetened drinks.

    Alternatively, you can buy a SodaStream and use their new all-natural cane sugar-sweetened syrups to make your own “real” soda at home. Or go to a retro soda website and buy sugar-sweetened sodas in glass bottles and fancy old logos.

    There are plenty of ways to get sugar-sweetened soda. If Throwback isn’t good enough for you, you’ll have to put in some extra effort to get what you want.

    “(Sidenote: Dear Pepsi: Please bring back Crystal Pepsi, Holiday Spice Pepsi, and Pepsi Blue, even if it’s for a limited time. I would totally play 7 Minutes in Heaven with current PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi to make this happen. Heck, I would also play 7 Minutes in Heaven with her predecessor, Steven Reinemund to bring them back.)”

    – Co-sign x10000000 on all three flavors. Especially Pepsi Blue.

  10. Either way soda makes your bones porous and brittle and is an empty calorie and should be consumed sparingly.Diet or sugar ladden, reduced or artificial ingredients added.Soda used to be a treat now people consume it more than water. No wonder people in America are overweight!

    1. Marie, you are correct. Soda used to be a treat when I was a kid. I was allowed one small glass bottle a day, but then I grew up and drank it all the time, and gained weight. I’m finally losing the weight by a strict diet, but it was a 20-year battle. And you are also correct about sodas effect on bones. My husband is a P.A. and he told me about the long term studies that show that soda leaches the calcium from our bones. As women especially, we need our calcium so we don’t end up with brittle bones as we age. If nothing else, I take a calcium supplement daily, and I’m trying to cut back to reasonable portions on my diet-soda habit.

      1. I FINALLY broke down and bought one to try, and as a Diet Pepsi drinker, it’s not bad. It’s pretty sweet to my taste buds but since I’m used to artificial sweeteners that part doesn’t stand out to me. So…that being said, I will probably stick with my 0 calories over 40 calories in Next, until I find a good replacement that doesn’t have Aspartame in it. I don’t care for the sodas with Splenda either, so maybe if they could come out with one with less natural sugar, I’d totally get on board that train.

  11. wow, you gotta a nice PR firm connection! I’m drinking it right now and it tastes like half diet.

  12. I love the new pepsi next! I’ve been trying to drink less pop because of the calories but this pop taste just like regular pepsi. I will continue drinking it

    1. I have been drinking pepsi for 45 years. It is my breakfast and have one with supper. Next does not even come close to tasting like pepsi.

  13. I bought a 2-liter bottle of to test it out. I agree, it tastes half diet. Not as strong as full, but definitely has that taste. I’ll stick with Pepsi Throwback!

  14. I can’t get Pepsi One in Texas anymore. I REALLY miss it and have been forced by Pepsi to drink —- Diet Coke with Splenda.

    Give me back my Pepsi One!!!!! I was good for three to four twelve packs a week….I’ll even take 2 liter bottles, just bring it back to Texas!

  15. I’ve tried it and I like it. Trying to get off straight Coke. At first, I could tast the sweeteners but once I got used to it, it tasted fine. I hope they make a De-caf version.

  16. Seriously Google Pepsico and Senomyx inc. Senomyx is the bio tech company suppling the flavoring for pepsi, frito lay, kraft foods and nestle’. When Cambells soup found out what they were doing they broke ties with Senomyx.GOOGLE IT !!!

  17. Just tried it. It tastes like diet pepsi from a pop dispenser that had too much syrup:carbonated water ratio. It also tastes like expired Diet Pepsi. The 60 calories isn’t worth the taste. Drink Diet Pepsi instead and save the calories for something else.

  18. I’m not much of a soda drinker anymore, but I just HAD to try out this Pepsi Next. To my surprise it was really good and super sweet. I’m quite fond of it. It gave me a bit of a sugar rush! So obviously the less sugar thing is just to compliment the lower amount of calories, you know, so it looks good on paper, lol.

    P.S. I must say, for all the Pepsi Blue lovers out there, try Jolt Blue Raspberry cola if you can get your hands on it. I was literally trying to pinpoint where I had tasted it before, then it hit me, “Holy crap! This is pepsi blue”. LOL

  19. So, Pepsi Next is just the pepsi version of CocaCola C2 (or a revamped Pepsi Edge?):

    The only Pepsi to bring back is Pepsi Kona!

  20. HFCS is no worse for you than cane sugar unless you have some sort of allergy toward it or something. It’s cheaper to make (I’m assuming) and tastes way better than sugar. Can’t stand those throwback drinks. Coke tried this thing a few years ago with C2. It didn’t make it.

  21. Dang.

    Ya know I heard a news report several years ago now that annoucned that BOTH Pepsi & Coke would be producing new beverages with Stevia.

    Yet nada so far.

    I like the concept of Pepsi Next, giving you the cola flavor without as high an amount of sugar/calories/carbs.

    But OMFG what a cancerous cocktail of chemical’s this Pepsi Next is!

    I am presently off Pepsi 100% because well…I literally am a Pepsi addict, if I have even 1 I will instantly backslide into drinking like 4 cans a day on average worth or more on heavy usage days.
    But before endeavoring to loose some weight that prompted me putting the crack down, I would only drink Throwback or Mexican bottled Pepsi, or as a last resort ‘regular’ HFC Pepsi.
    I’d rather have the outrageous amount of sugar than the Chemicals.

    Anyone not concerned about Aspertame (NutraSweet) sometimes now disguised as being called phenylketonurics on labels instead of Aspertame or NutraSweet simply doesn’t know it’s history / origins.

    I’d recommend you Google or YouTube the documentary SWEET MISERY
    You’ll hear some familiar names if you watch it like, oh Don Rumsfeld before he was Secretary of War (Defense).

    Anyways, enough rant, thanks for the review, now I know that although I was semi interested in trying Next, that it’s NOT for me.

    1. Pepsi and Coke didn’t specifically say they would make colas containing stevia. Pepsi has released 0-calorie Lifewater and Coke has released Sprite Green, which are both sweetened with stevia.

      If you’re looking for stevia-sweetened soft drinks in more traditional flavors, check out Zevia and SANS.

    2. I agree! What happened to Coke & Pepsi with Stevia? At least I can get Zevia but the only way it is afforadable is with big value coupons!

  22. So, everyone knows that real, natural sugar is actually the best for you, right? So why is there this huge rush to cram as many chemicals as possible just to save a handful of calories that you could burn by walking around for a few minutes??
    I’ve had Diet coke, Diet Pepsi, Diet Dr. Pepper, Pepsi one/max, 10-calorie this and one calorie that….the only ‘good’ thing about them is not ingesting a small, insignificant amount of calories.

  23. You probably did taste lemon. The two main flavors in any cola are lemon and vanilla.

    I tried Pepsi Next and was surprised that I liked it. I think u ruined it for me though by telling me it contains five sweeteners, lol

  24. I’m as health conscious as the next guy, but there is no proof that the fake sugars are bad for you other than some studies of rats (even that is questionable). Now, consuming large quantities of sugar is what makes people fat (not calories). Folks, calories have nothing to do with gaining weight. People gain weight from the way their body retains insulin and carbs.

    1. I agree with your carb + insulin = weight retention/gain.

      But you are so off the mark on the proof about artificial sweeteners, at least where it specifically relates to Aspratame.

      I can’t comment on Sucralose, and all the other “ose” types of not sugar, sugars that find their way into our food supply.

      1. prove me wrong, rev. i havent seen any good science. i will avoid the stuff if you can show me something.

  25. bought a 12 pack took 2 drinks and threw whole 12 pack out went to store and bought regular pepsi that was the nastiest thing I ever drankl yukkkkkkkkkkk

  26. I see 60% less calories than regular Pepsi, but after tasting it, there’s also 60% less flavor!! Slightly more flavor than carbonated water. Pepsi blew it on this one. Sorry.

  27. this pepsi next taste good but the after taste is so bad i all most up chucked it so bad i had to pull over and sit on the side of the road and gag for 15 min. thank goodness i was not on the harley im not going to tell you what you can do with it you can fill that part in
    thank you

  28. Pepsi Next has a weak – almost medicinal – flavor and a very strong, unpleasant artificial sweetener aftertaste. This will not be around for long.

  29. I normally do not drink anything with artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, but I bought a 2 liter of this last weekend on a wild impulse because it was on sale. To make matters worse, when we got to the checkout, they had cold 20oz bottles, and I had to try one on the way home. It does not taste that much different than any other diet cola. It tastes like a combination of sugar and salt! Those of you out there that can not tell the difference between diet and regular drinks, your taste buds have been destroyed by all those chemicals they call artificial sweeteners!;p). Stick with regular sugar. At least it came from a plant, and was not manufactured in a plant!!;p0).

  30. This stuff is brilliant. I have tried Diet Pepsi, Pepsi One, and Pepsi Max, none of them come close. The first two taste far too different from regular Pepsi, and I don’t like the high level of caffeine in Pepsi Max. Pepsi Next tastes almost like the real stuff but obviously has much fewer calories.

  31. I usually drink Cherry Pepsi or Cherry Coke. I’ve been wanting to cut back on my cola consumption because of the calories. I also hate the taste of all diet colas. I saw Pepsi Next on the shelf and gave it a try. I really like it. It solves my problem with calories and I like the taste. I hope it makes it and a Cherry Pepsi Next is in the works.

  32. Unless you’re drinking a 12 pack of soda a day it isn’t bad for you. People cry it does this and that and causes cancer. Whatever.

  33. I recently was diagnosed with diabetes. I was a 4 or 5 cans a day Mountain Dew drinker. I have cut that down to 1 most days. I tried all the “diet” drinks on the market and I am one of those people who detect an “after taste” when drinking diet drinks and cannot stand it.

    I tried Pepsi Next tonight for the 1st time. Honestly, the after taste is “almost” not there. The taste is not as crisp or acidic as regular Pepsi, but not bad. I think it would make a good alternative to cut about 100 calories a day out of my diet, not everyday, be at least a few times a week. I tried to cut out soda altogether, but my addiction is just too strong to give it up totally.

  34. Dude, it’s a soda. Get a grip. Are you afraid to get out of bed in the morning too?

  35. OMG, will these cola companies ever get it? This has been tried before by Coke and was a dismal failure. Those of us over 30 don’t want our soft drinks to be highly sweet. Here’s a novel idea, if you want to make a cola with 50% less sugar, then simply put in 50% less surgar and leave out all the other sweeteners. Just once I’d like to see a soft drink company get with the program instead of reinventing the same old failures and wondering what they did wrong.


  37. I stopped drinking anything pepsi or coke makes. Most of you will too if you research their products enough.

  38. still tastes like a diet soda to me. and diet sodas taste like crap. and so does this. i’ll stick to my regular pepsi thanks.

  39. I am drinking Pepsi next as I write. I can not finish the bottle. This Pepsi Next is nasty.

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