REVIEW: Salted Caramel Pepsi

Salted Caramel Pepsi

Most seasonal flavors stay in their section of the calendar.

Pumpkin spice and candy corn products show up during fall. Candy cane and egg nog products are around for Christmas. Carrot cake is a spring flavor. But salted caramel (and sea salt caramel) gets shoehorned into being a fall flavor, even though many brands have offered salted caramel products earlier in the year. What does salted caramel have to do with fall?

Maybe caramel’s brown color brings thoughts of fall leaves or turkey gravy. Maybe the salt represents the salty tears of sadness you’ll cry at your annual dysfunctional Thanksgiving dinner.

Whatever it is, Pepsi is also getting into the holiday spirit of releasing a salted caramel product in the fall with their latest flavor.

Salted Caramel Pepsi sounds like a unique flavor, but it’s not Pepsi’s first rodeo with a caramel-flavored cola. A decade ago, there was Diet Pepsi Jazz Caramel Cream. The flavor in it did a great job at hiding the Diet Pepsi-ness of the drink at chilled temperatures. But this new flavor, while it has artificial sweeteners, isn’t a diet soda thanks to the high fructose corn syrup.

Like Toucan Sam’s nose following the scent of Froot Loops or the noses on Carmen Miranda cosplayers, my nose detects a fruitiness with this soda. The aroma is familiar and I’ve been racking my brain over why that is. And its flavor doesn’t help either because it tastes like something I’ve had before. Is it from my childhood? Is it another limited edition Pepsi flavor? Did I experience it in another life? Another dimension? I don’t know.

But what I do know is Salted Caramel Pepsi has a flavor I enjoy. It’s fruity at first, which is odd, but the salt and artificial caramel hit my taste buds a bit later and lingers for a while. The saltiness enhances the flavor of the caramel, which I like, but at the same time, a salty soda might turn off some drinkers. I mean, it’s not like drinking ocean water, but sodas are sweet 99 percent of the time, so it might be strange for some.

Every year, I wait with bated breath for the return of Holiday Spice Pepsi, a seasonal cola variety I enjoyed over a decade ago. But every year I release that breath with a sigh because it doesn’t come back. I let out another sigh this year, but Salted Caramel Pepsi softened my annual disappointment. It’s a nice seasonal flavor, although unusual for a soda. But I’m attracted to unusual, like moths to a flame or Toucan Sam’s nose to a box of Froot Loops.

(Nutrition Facts – 20 oz. – 170 calories, 0 grams of fat, 105 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 44 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.49
Size: 20 oz. bottle
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Not gross. Pleasant seasonal flavor. Lower sugar levels due to the sucralose and ace-k. Artificial sweeteners not too noticeable. If you know who Carmen Miranda is.
Cons: Might be too unusual for some. Might be too salty for some. It smells and tastes like something, but I can’t recall what it is. Not Holiday Spice Pepsi. Sighs.

25 thoughts to “REVIEW: Salted Caramel Pepsi”

  1. What is it going to take to get SUCRALOSE and ACE K gone? Whose brilliant idea was it to start adding this artificial crap to regular soda and drinks? I get adding it to diet products and labeling it as diet. But sneaking it in regular products and then failing to add a diet or light disclaimer on the product forces one to have to constantly read ingredients just to see if this garbage has been added to a non-disclosure item.
    Besides, since when do we need a nanny to say if we want to try any limited edition flavors we’re going to force people to put up with artificial sweeteners or just go to another product. Well that’s what I’m leaning on now. After years of loving this and other food sites and seeking out limited edition and unique flavors, I may not try so hard anymore. I mean, even Game Fuel by Mountain Dew, with a hardcore younger audience set on gaming and sugar shock has been pigeonholed into this “pseudo diet” formula.
    So for me this trend is disturbing and disappointing. If every new or limited edition item coming out is going to be infested with artificial sweeteners, then this long-time player will, sadly, be dropping out of the game.

    1. I agree, I hate when these ingredients are in random foods and beverages. I think with these types of things it is done for flavoring purposes, and it’s immediately obvious because it leaves a funky aftertaste.

      I wouldn’t call it “pseudo diet” as there is still a ton of sugar.

      1. Definitely agree on the horrible aftertaste! But pseudo means false so that’s what I meant. It’s not diet at all. It’s reduced calorie though and it needs to be clearly marked that way.
        Only thing I can figure is a bunch of parents or something got together and threatened to sue these companies for “giving their kids diabetes” or something and demanded that they lower their sugar content. I get that. But make it a separate product instead of forcing the general population to just “take it or leave it.”
        I wonder if we formed our own group with a movement to reverse this trend or boycott the product if it would gain any traction? I’m sure a lot of people would join if they knew about it. Some don’t like the taste, some have allergies, some just don’t want added artificial chemicals in their bodies. Whatever the reasons, it may be time to push back.

        1. General Mills bowed to pressure from a vocal minority and made Trix cereal “all natural.”

          That didn’t work well for them as they are bringing back the colorful, tastier Trix.

          Your best weapon is just don’t purchase.

    2. To be honest, the real garbage is the high fructose corn syrup. I live in an area near an independent Coca-Cola bottling company and they distributed their cola brands made with sucrose. Which primarily comes from beets. And Kosher Coke and Coke de Mexico are both made with real sugar. Coke Life is part sugar, part stevia.

      Unfortunately the Coke bottler in that area shut their production down and now buy from others who use corn syrup.

      If you want to taste the difference between a corn syrup soda, try drinking a Coke de Mexico (or Sprite, or Fanta), Pepsi and Mountain Dew Throwback/Made With Real Sugar, and a lot of the sodas (but not all) distributed in glass bottles.

      The greatest travesty is when Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG) put the screws to Dublin (TX) Dr Pepper so badly that Dublin sold their Dr Pepper rights back to DPSG, so Dublin Dr Pepper made with cane sugar is no more. It was beyond amazing.

      If you are near a Cracker Barrel, go check out their glass bottle selection. With the exception of the Coke in 8 ounce glass bottles (which is made with corn syrup), the sodas should all be made with real sugar. So smooth and not syrupy at all. Cheerwine is night and day in glass bottles versus cans/plastic. Also, if you live near a Big Lots, see if they still have any Boylan’s left. By far my favorite is the red birch beer. I about cleaned them out last time I was there a month or so ago, and I need to go back to see if they have more.

    3. i couldnt agree with this whole post more. its very disappointing. i havent yet trained myself to read before i buy and have fell victim to spiked mountain dew, game fuel and now caramel pepsi, all of which had suclarose in them. all of the above mentioned were one sip and dump drinks. its a very disappointing trend indeed.

    4. Diet would be “GREAT” for those that can’t try this, anyother way? I’d like to give it a shot, I know Pepsi has access to Splenda? There are millions of Pepsi fans that can’t drink regular Pepsi! Any chance they’d be considered when or before putting out a drink with nothing for the other fans?!

    1. The addition of those sweeteners only slightly reduce the calories and sugar count. They still have a significant amount of both.

    1. Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Natural Flavor, Phosphoric Acid, Salt, Potassium Sorbate (Preserves Freshness), Potassium Citrate, Caffeine, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium.

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