Sierra Mist is being replaced by this new Sprite alternative

Pepsi introduces a new lemon-lime-flavored soft drink called Starry

Starry regular and Starry no sugar

PepsiCo is replacing Sierra Mist with a new lemon-lime soft drink called Starry.

What does Starry soda taste like?

In a press release announcing the launch of the new beverage on January 11th, 2023, Pepsi describes Starry as a “great-tasting soda bursting with lemon-lime flavor that delivers the crisp, refreshing bite consumers have been longing for in the lemon-lime flavored soda category.”

According to Danielle Barbaro, Vice President R&D at PepsiCo Beverages North America, the company’s innovation team was able to create a “game-changing recipe” for Starry, which boasts the “perfect balance of lemon-lime flavor and sweetness” compared to its primary competition in the market.

Starry Lemon Lime Soda

Compared to its predecessor Sierra Mist, a PepsiCo representative told CNN that Starry has “higher citrus flavors that are true to fruit and more aromatic.” It’s also caffeine-free and comes in regular and zero-sugar versions.

Available in a variety of sizes, Starry is now being sold at retailers and food service outlets across the United States. Many people who have already tried the new soft drink took to social media to share what they think about it.

Starry Lemon Lime Soda in different sizes=

One Twitter user wrote that Starry is definitely “a lot better” than Sierra Mist and “much more like Sprite” in terms of taste. Another Twitter user found the new beverage “more sweet” than Sierra Mist. Check out some of the tweets about Starry below:

Where to buy Starry

Aside from grocery stores and food service outlets across the United States, Starry is also available for purchase online. On Amazon, you can get 10 counts of Starry 7.5oz mini cans for $5.99.

Starry Lemon Lime, Mini Cans, 7.5 Ounce (Pack of 10)
$5.78 ($0.08 / Fl Oz)
  • 10 count of Starry 7.5oz mini cans – little can, big burst of crisp taste
  • Caffeine-free
  • Crisp, clear burst of lemon-lime flavor
  • A hit of refreshment to brighten your day
Buy Now
10/20/2023 04:55 pm GMT

What is Sierra Mist?

Sierra Mist

Sierra Mist was a lemon-lime-flavored soft drink line made by PepsiCo. Launched in 1999, Sierra Mist was eventually made available in all markets in the U.S. in 2003 to compete with Coca-Cola‘s Company’s Sprite and Keurig Dr Pepper’s 7 Up. The drink was rebranded as Mist Twist in 2016, but PepsiCo reverted it back to Sierra Mist in 2018.

Is Sierra Mist discontinued?

Yes. Sierra Mist was discontinued by PepsiCo. The company’s decision to stop making Sierra Mist was made public when it officially introduced its new lemon line beverage, Starry, in January 2023.

Though Sierra Mist had been in the market for 24 years old, it failed to gain traction against Sprite, which is currently the market leader in the lemon-lime soda category. Based on sales data obtained by CNN from Beverage Digest, Sierra Mist’s share of the soda market barely exceeded a tenth of 1% and had been on the decline for at least the past five years. Sprite, on the other hand, had grown its share of the soft drink market over the same time period to nearly 8%.

While it’s not exactly clear why Sierra Mist didn’t manage to outperform Sprite, Neil Saunders, managing director of retail for the data analytics company GlobalData, said that Sierra Mist is a “confused brand” that simply looks like an “imitation of Sprite.”

“At a time when growth in traditional soda is sluggish and when the shelves are being flooded with new and innovative beverages being a tired second-tier player doesn’t really cut it,” Saunders explained in an interview with CNN. He noted that Sierra Mist’s rebranding to Mist Twist and back to Sierra Mist between 2016 to 2018 was “pointless” because it only brought confusion to consumers.

Despite PepsiCo’s decision to discontinue Sierra Mist, Gerald Pascarelli, a consumer equity researcher at Wedbush Securities, said that the company is “not going to lose a significant amount of revenue.” That’s because based on data from Nielsen IQ, only 0.2% of Pepsi’s 2022 earnings came from the soft drink brand.

PepsiCo’s researchers found that the demand for lemon-lime soft drinks has been accelerating since 2019. So instead of completely abandoning the lemon-lime soft drink category, which is already one of the classic soda flavors in the market, the company introduced Starry.

“At PepsiCo, we are hyper-focused on consumer-centric innovation, and we know there’s a strong demand for lemon-lime flavored soda with the category continuing to accelerate,” said Greg Lyons, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Beverages North America, in a press release. “With one product dominating the category, consumers deserve another option….one that hits different. Starry is bright, optimistic, and rooted in culture and fun.”

With Starry’s fresh appearance and Gen-Z-appealing tagline, Starry Hits Different, it’s clear that PepsiCo is positioning the new drink toward younger drinkers. “The design of Starry is much more aligned with the Gen-Z aesthetic, which is bright, fun, whimsical, Instagramable, than many of Pepsi’s other offerings,” said Danielle Barbaro, vice president of R&D at PepsiCo Beverages North America, in a press release.

PepsiCo is set to make a series of announcements about Starry’s marketing plans, including a national TV commercial, 360 digital and social content, and large-scale sports, culture, and entertainment partnerships.

What is the new name for Sierra Mist?

As previously mentioned, Sierra Mist was rebranded as Mist Twist in 2016, but PepsiCo reverted it back to Sierra Mist in 2018. PepsiCo’s new lemon-lime soft drink, Starry, is not a rebranding of Sierra Mist. Starry is the replacement for Sierra Mist, which was announced to be discontinued in January 2023.

What soda is closest to Sierra Mist?

Since PepsiCo’s Sierra Mist is a direct competition of Coke’s Sprite and Keurig Dr Pepper’s 7 Up, all these three beverages have a close resemblance with one another in terms of taste.

What is Pepsi’s version of Sprite?

PepsiCo’s version of Sprite was originally Sierra Mist. But after Sierra Mist was discontinued, PepsiCo’s new version of Sprite now comes in the form of Starry.

Are Sprite, 7 Up, and Sierra Mist the same thing?

No. While all drinks are lemon-lime flavored, Sprite, 7 Up, and Sierra Mist are not the same thing. For one, Sprite is manufactured by Coca-Cola; Sierra Mist is made by PepsiCo, while 7 Up is a brand under the Keurig Dr Pepper company. And even though they taste very similar to one another, they are actually made with different sets of artificial sweeteners and ingredients:

Sprite ingredients

  • Carbonated Water
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Citric Acid
  • Natural Flavors
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Sodium Benzoate (To Protect Taste)

7 Up ingredients

  • Filtered Carbonated Water
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Citric Acid
  • Potassium Citrate
  • Natural Flavors
  • Calcium Disodium EDTA (To Protect Flavor)

Sierra Mist ingredients

  • Carbonated Water
  • Sugar
  • Natural Flavoring
  • Citric Acid
  • Potassium Benzoate (Preserves Freshness)
  • Potassium Citrate
  • Calcium Disodium EDTA (To Protect Flavor)

Does Sierra Mist taste like Sprite?

Although Sierra Mist and Sprite both have a citrus flavor with a great blend of lemon and lime, there are still a few differences between the two. According to FoodsGuy.com, regardless of their respective artificial sweeteners, Sierra Mist tastes more natural than Sprite, as the former doesn’t contain chemically flavored notes that will overwhelm delicate spirits. Sprite, meanwhile, is said to have a less prominent lime flavor compared to Sierra Mist.

Is Sprite the healthiest soda?

Sprite in green plastic bottles

It’s not clear whether there’s actually a healthy soda, but one’s thing is for sure: too much intake of soft drinks like Sprite or Ginger Ale, is not good for your health. According to a 2017 study published on PubMed Central, men should only have 36 grams of sugar and women 25 grams a day. And since one 12-ounce can of Sprite already has 38 grams of sugar, overconsumption of soft drinks is not recommended, especially if you’re diabetic or monitoring your weight gain.

If you’re trying to be healthier, try replacing sodas with a refreshing glass of fruit juice like lime juice. You can also opt for iced tea if you’re craving something cold.

Sources: PepsiCo, CNN, TODAY, Bloomberg, FoodsGuy.com
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