August 2010 saw the latest change to an existing product by PepsiCo. Sierra Mist became Sierra Mist Natural.
Along with a name change, the product got a new recipe, new logo and bottle color.
Let’s see what’s different now.
The sweetener change is the most significant. Mist has dropped high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and switched to natural sugar.
The amount of ingredients in Mist Natural has been lessened to only five. Carbonated water, sugar, citric acid, natural flavor and potassium citrate. Not seen in the receipe are potassium benzoate, ascorbic acid, and calcium disodium EDTA. The missing ingredients are all forms of preservatives. Mist left citric acid in both products, which is a natural preservative and helps create a sour taste.
With the new name, the logo has changed. This is where I have a small irk. Sierra Mist has traded logos three times in the last two years! This could make it hard for the brand to find it’s own signature look. From the classic mountain logo, to the weird foresty/fog logo, to the lemon/lime with text and finally to the plain, clean Sierra Mist logo it now holds. I like this logo and I hope they have made up their mind on this one.
The bottle has changed from a deep green, like their sister brand Mountain Dew, to a lightly colored and more transparent green. I like this change as well. It almost seems like it looks more healthy and bright in this new bottle. They do say people associate clear or lightly colored drinks to being better for you.
Now that we’ve covered cosmetic and formula-related differences, let’s talk about taste!
After trying an ice cold Sierra Mist Natural for the first time, I really enjoyed it. The change in sweetener makes the biggest impact. I notice that the taste and consistency are more crisp and isn’t syrupy. With the drink being less syrupy, the flavor seems to pop when it hits your taste buds. The natural lemon and lime flavors come alive and are more pronounced than before. The carbonation was fine and the soda was easy to drink.
All in all, I think this change was the best they’ve made yet. People want sodas that are better for them. With HFCS being a heavy target of obesity arguments, natural sugar is appealing. I think that Sierra Mist has found their new and best identity in its Natural form.
[Note] Since finishing up this review of Sierra Mist, I’ll be darned if Mist didn’t have ANOTHER cosmetic makeover! They recently added a light neon green to the label instead of being plain and clear. Not a biggie!