Beverage giant PepsiCo is capitalizing on the United States' highly elevated stress levels with the release of a new drink that aims to help people relax and fall asleep. The company is marketing its new drink, called Driftwell, as a solution to insomnia and anxiety, two conditions that are plaguing millions of Americans amid the prolonged pandemic.
The vice president of innovation at Pepsi's North American beverage unit, Emily Silver, pointed out in a statement that the launch of the new drink comes at a time of high consumer interest for such a product. She added that given the current situation, the company expects increased demand for the drink at least from a macro perspective.
Driftwell is a type of water drink that the company says contains 200 milligrams of L-theanine. The type of amino acid, which is commonly found in black and green teas, has been proven by a number of studies to be effective in improving sleep quality and reduce symptoms of stress.
Silver mentioned that from a regulatory and scientific perspective, the company is confident about the claims it makes for what the new product can do. She noted that apart from L-theanine, the new drink also contains 10 percent of the recommended daily value of magnesium. Pepsico will be offering its new Driftwell drink in just one flavor, which it calls blackberry lavender.
The drinks are sold in 7.5-ounce mini cans. Pepsi claims that the size of the drink is perfect for hydrating before sleeping, while not being too much to cause another trip to the bathroom. Pepsi plans to make the new drink available nationwide through its online channels in December and in grocery stores during the first quarter of next year.
The functional water beverages sector has become a hotly contested segment in the United States as more people shift from sugary drinks to healthier alternatives. According to data published by Euromonitor International, the segment ballooned to about $2.97 billion in the U.S. last year. The segment is expected to grow another 5 percent this year. While most of the drinks being offered in the segment are performance rehydration beverages, there is a growing section of relaxation drinks. Industry experts have noted that Pepsi likely wants to replicate the popularity of "relaxation drinks" in Asian countries such as Japan.