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They’re Not Waking Up to Pepsi AM, Soft Drink Maker Finds

October 15, 1990 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ After a year of test-marketing a high-caffeine soft drink, Pepsi-Cola Co. evidently woke up and smelled the coffee.

The No. 2 beverage maker behind Coca-Cola Co. says it has stopped testing its extra-kick Pepsi A.M., although Pepsi will continue to test a marketing strategy aimed at luring coffee drinkers to its regular cola in the morning.

Pepsi-Cola had begun testing Pepsi A.M. in August 1989 in Waterloo, Iowa, but decided to discontinue the beverage this past August, company spokeswoman Leigh Curtin said Monday.

″What we found from the test was we didn’t need to reformulate our product for consumers to enjoy it in the morning,″ Curtin said.

Pepsi A.M. had about 25 percent more caffeine than regular Pepsi. The company wanted to see if the added jolt would attract coffee drinkers, but sales proved slow and some Iowa consumers said the beverage tasted flat.

While the test has ended, Pepsi has not given up on converting coffee drinkers to its soft drinks in the morning, said another Pepsi spokeswoman, Rebecca Madeira.

She said a promotional test is continuing in Fort Wayne, Ind., using the slogan ″Pepsi in the Morning″ for the company’s regular cola. That test began the same month that Pepsi A.M. began being marketed in Waterloo, Iowa.

Coca-Cola also has used periodic promotions in some markets that pitched its regular soft drinks for consumption in the morning.

Industry experts say the percentage of soft drinks consumed in the morning has risen to 15 percent of all soda sales from 10 percent a decade ago. Each 1 percent share of the market represents more than $400 million in retail sales.

Coffee consumption, meanwhile, has shown signs of declining. Americans drank an average of 1.75 cups of coffee per person last year, down from a peak in 1962 of 3.12 cups per day, according to the London-based International Coffee Organization.

″We think there is a lot of potential there to expand,″ Ms. Madeira said.