Pepsi Is Trying Their Hand at Functional Beverages with Driftwell

by Matt Weik

I’m a huge fan of functional beverages and snacks, and it appears that Pepsi is jumping into the mix with a new relaxation beverage. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a Pepsi fan. In fact, I really don’t care for anything that Pepsi makes. I’m a Coke guy who loves his Coke Zero Sugar from time to time. That being said, like many others, I’m very interested in Driftwell and what it has to offer.

Driftwell Could Make a Huge Splash on the Market

How many people use caffeine and stimulants throughout the day to pick them up and energize them to stay productive in the classroom or office? I’ll answer that… MILLIONS. Coffee is the number one purchased beverage in the morning, and with the staggering number of people using energy drinks, there is no shortage of caffeinated Americans walking around. However, what about something to help people come down from their stressful and anxiety-filled days? That’s precisely why Driftwell was created.

They say a good product is one that identifies a problem people are having and goes out and solves it. Pepsi saw a gap in the market that was on the opposite side of the spectrum from all of the energy drinks and caffeine-filled beverages and executed.

Driftwell still has a few months until it is officially launched, but they made the announcement a few months early to draw attention and get people talking about their new functional beverage.

While most brands offer their functional beverages with carbonation, Driftwell is a water-based enhanced beverage that is not carbonated and is flavored as a blackberry and lavender. The “special sauce” of Driftwell comes in the form of 200mg of L-theanine. The premise of this 7.5oz functional beverage is to help people relax and unwind.

Some products on the market that share the same space can cause people to feel groggy upon waking the next morning or simply don’t contain a high enough dosage for the individual to feel any sort of effects from the product. For that reason, Pepsi made sure to add a dose of L-theanine that has been shown to allow for a positive experience and result.

Pepsi has mentioned that “55% of Americans experience high stress throughout the day, while 45% reported lying awake at night because of stress – and 21% said they feel more stress when they can’t sleep.”

If You Listen to Your Employees, You May Get Some Great Ideas

Pepsi has mentioned that this beverage was the quickest to market thanks to its employees – taking less than one year. How did this come about? Pepsi created a program that they called “The Next Big Idea.” Essentially, it allows employees to use their creativity to recommend new products for the brand to consider and hopefully take to market and launch.

A Pepsi spokesperson has said, “Driftwell is the fastest beverage brand ever to market from PepsiCo. While it was in development before the pandemic, now it is launching at a time when it is needed most. PepsiCo has a fantastic nutrition sciences and brand development team, both of which helped bring this product to market in record time.”

I would tend to agree with this individual. Right now, many people across the United States are incredibly stressed out. It could be due to the fear of getting the virus, the fact that they may have lost their job, or simply the unknown and uncertainty with what will happen following the election. A product like Driftwell, in my opinion, is a fantastic idea.

Getting feedback and ideas from your employees is one of the smartest things a business and employer can do, yet for some reason, owners and executives think they are the best at calling the shots. I’ll be the first to say they are incorrect. More times than not, executives and owners sit in their plush offices during the day while their employees are out there in the trenches working with retailers, talking with customers, and gaining a ton of feedback and insight.

I believe that if more businesses utilized an initiative like what Pepsi has, their growth and innovation could skyrocket. While some employees are only there to do their job and nothing more, others love what they do and have a real passion for it. They immerse themselves in the industry and market where they gain knowledge, feedback, and pinpoint gaps that could be taken advantage of.

Relaxation beverages and supplements are nothing new, but not many big brands like Pepsi have dabbled in these types of functional beverages. Sure, everyone has jumped on the energy drink train, but Pepsi saw an opportunity to get ahead of their competition through the launch of Driftwell. As they say, what comes up must come down, and for those who can’t quite seem to “come down” at the end of the day and allow their mind and body to relax, a functional beverage like Driftwell could be the solution.

According to reports, Driftwell will hit the shelves in December and will have a suggested retail price of $17.99 for a 10-pack of relaxation beverages.

I’d love to get my hands on this product when it launches and take it for a spin. I’m a massive fan of relaxation and anti-stress/calming products. I use various supplements to help my brain shut off at night and allow me to detach from work (at least for a little bit) so I can relax and get to sleep.

That being said, what are your thoughts on Driftwell? Is this functional beverage something you are looking to try once it launches, or is it not your cup of tea? Let us know down in the comments.


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