Pepsi and Kraft are embracing wild new flavors that seem a bit extreme but upon closer inspection, the food giants are actually just remixing flavors we already know and love. Call it the new nostalgia. The flavors themselves aren’t fresh, but they are placed into surprising contexts to offer a combination of comfort and adventure. Pepsi Apple Pie cola is strangely intriguing, while Pumpkin Spice Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is pretty much gag-worthy.
Fast Company did a taste test on various new flavours including Pepsi Apple Pie, that starts with apple, transitions to cinnamon, and circles into Pepsi. Then the flavor reverses, back to cinnamon and then to apple! And somehow, that’s not gross.Other new flavours under the Pepsi brand include “Hot” Chocolate; Pepsi Peeps (pink); and Pepsi Peeps (yellow).
All four of these Pepsi flavors are limited-time offerings, which are short-term products that may last only a few months on store shelves. Despite never hitting actual store shelves, Pepsi Apple Pie garnered more than 1,000 stories in the media, generating billions of impressions, according to the company. Pepsi didn’t sell it; Apple Pie cola was sent to fans as part of a hashtag challenge. Food marketing at its best! But while Pepsi Apple Pie was a marketing play, plenty of these nostalgic releases are aimed at generating sales, too. The industry is embracing both approaches in full force.
Kraft Heinz has used this strategy for years. Mayochup, a combination of ketchup and mayo in one bottle, made waves on social media when it hit the market in 2018 as a permanent product. When it debuted, Mayochup sold double what the company projected. Today it’s available in grocery stores nationwide.
In 2020, the company launched limited offerings of a candy-flavored Kraft dinner around Valentine’s Day, and a pumpkin spice Kraft dinner in fall. Sound gross? In this case, that’s on purpose to generate free marketing.
Ultimately, these flavors are an opportunity for something we’ve needed during stressful lockdown: indulgence.