The new Japan Cola will contain unique ingredients such as salt and Japanese citrus (yuzu) which Suntory expects to ‘enhance the original taste of cola’ and ‘provide a Japan-original taste’.
“Pepsi Japan Cola is designed with a carefully balanced combination of spices, a subtle flavor of salt, and citrus flavors unique to Japan,” Suntory spokeswoman Naoko Kushima told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“The end result is a taste that [brings] both a robust mouth feel and a sharp and clean aftertaste, delivering an exceptionally refreshing experience that is popular with Japan's ‘cola lovers’.”
“[Suntory aims to] further revitalise the cola market in Japan.”
Kushima added that the development of this product was the latest in a line of ‘unique marketing activities’ undertaken by the company to attract Japanese consumers since Suntory Beverage & Food acquired the master franchise right to the Pepsi Cola brand in Japan back in December 1997.
“[Pepsi Japan Cola was developed] based on product development knowledge from both PepsiCo and Suntory,” she said.
The cola will be available in two variants: Regular sugar and zero calories. The sugar content in the regular version will be ‘almost the same’ as that in regular Pepsi Cola.
Pepsi Japan Cola will be launched on April 9 this year all throughout Japan, at JPY140 (US$1.27) for a 490ml bottle. Information on other packaging and sizes will be made available on the launch day.
“It will be available through the all sales channels such as supermarkets and convenience stores and vending machines, and online,” Kushima added.
Pepsi Japan Cola vs Pepsi J-Cola
A fact worthy of note is that this new product is not the same as the Pepsi J-Cola range, which was also released by Suntory exclusively in Japan last year.
Pepsi J-Cola fell under Suntory’s ‘Japan and Joy Cola’ concept, which the company said was to be ‘positioned as a new, strategic brand for the Japanese market’.
Instead of Japan Cola’s salt and yuzu flavours, J-Cola contained a ‘carefully balanced combination of spices and citrus’ and was the product of a survey conducted on 100 cola-loving customers. It has been described as a ‘deeper Pepsi with a refreshing aftertaste’.
J-Cola was launched not only with a zero-calorie version, but also a Midnight edition.
“[The J-Cola Midnight] focuses on the fact that around half of Japan’s cola lovers drink cola in the evenings and night, [and was developed to be] suitable for the night scene,” said Suntory.
The Midnight version retains the ‘robust mouth feel of the regular product’ but contains an ‘additional drifting hint of cassis’, based on what half of all surveyed Japanese customers said they most wanted from a drink late at night.