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  • Writer's pictureJess

The New Frontier of Flavor: Spicy Cola

PepsiCo is more than just Pepsi cola. Sodas, other beverages like Gatorade, and snack foods like Lay’s and Doritos are all distributed and produced by PepsiCo (About Pepsico 2024). I chose PepsiCo because I was born and live an hour east of the birthplace of Pepsi, New Bern, North Carolina. As a child, my father was a truck driver and worked at Pepsi for years. Pepsi has always been willing to take risks and try new products, take for example the popularity of Crystal Clear Pepsi in the 90’s. 

New Spicy Cola Diaz Media Marketing

New Product Idea: Spicy Cola. Starbucks is currently trying a line of spicy beverages, PepsiCo should act fast. The market is not yet saturated with spicy drinks, but is there a demand for them? 

Defining the research objective. The research objective is measuring and clearly defining an opportunity for a spicy cola to enter the market. 

Hypothesis. I believe that there is demand for spicy drinks and PepsiCola could be on the forefront of an emerging market. 

Secondary Research. The first step would be to conduct exploratory research by utilizing market analysis to project trends of the spicy beverage market followed by a competitive analysis, observing the market’s reaction to Starbuck’s new product line of drinks with a kick of spicy heat (Babin, 2018-08-22, p. 62). This exploratory research can help identify trends as well as help the Spicy Cola team find the target market for the new product. 

Primary Research. The Spicy Pepsi product team should hold focus and taste testing groups including our sample consisting of the target market to screen this new concept and refine it (Babin, 2018-08-22, p. 121). 

Focus Groups. Advantages of focus group include being quick and easy to implement, allow for open and natural dialogue with varying perspectives, and more detailed answers (Babin, 2018-08-22, p. 121). A focus study would help explore attitudes towards the idea of a spicy cola, what they expect packaging and pricing to look l like, and learn preferences and expectations that their customers may have when choosing a spicy drink.

Taste Testing. Organizing taste testing sessions allow  test units from our target market to sample Spicy Cola and in turn providing the company with valuable feedback on its flavor, level of heat, and overall appeal. Advantages of taste testing include capturing quantitative and qualitative data on taste preferences and enables the team to make improvements on the product before launch to the public for purchase (Babin, 2018-08-22, p. 236).

Unobtrusive Research Method. Less obtrusive research method such as observation of customer behavior that are currently purchasing spicy beverages. This method could yield more clear, unbiased results and at a lower cost to the company when compared to focus groups or taste testing (Babin, 2018-08-22, p.69). 

Through a combination of secondary and primary research PepsiCo can gain valuable insights on the new frontier of flavor and it's market opportunity, find their target market, and plan effective marketing strategies for a successful launch of a line of Spicy Cola. 


Babin, B. J.  (2018-08-22). Essentials of Marketing Research,  7th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf 10.3.4].  Retrieved from vbk://9780357463703

About Pepsico. PepsicoUpgrade. (n.d.). 

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