Make us your home page
Instagram

Pepsi swaps 12-packs for eight-packs in Florida

Is the 12-pack of soda the next victim of rising food prices and more frugal times?

Pepsi Bottling Group aims to find out in a Florida test kicked off this week that replaces the most popular way of buying soft drinks with an eight-pack.

Closely watched and expected to be copied elsewhere by Coca-Cola, the test is the latest from foodmakers who in the past year rejiggered almost half of all package sizes or reformulated ingredients to mask higher prices.

With the Department of Agriculture forecasting food prices will jump 6 percent this year, the job is far from over. Even as commodity prices begin to stabilize, manufacturers are coping with higher energy prices such as gas for delivery, electric bills and oil-based plastic. In fact, Pepsi launched the test in 20 percent of the country in anticipation its eight-packs will seem like more of a value as prices keep rising.

Pepsi's prices have not gone up as fast as the company's 11 percent spike in expenses. Meanwhile, U.S. can sales volume slumped 6 percent as people buy fewer soft drinks and bottled water or shift to off brands.

Want proof the 12-pack — which accounts for half of all soft drink sales — outlived its appeal? Even when Pepsi cut prices, sales volume was only half what it used to be, spokesman Jeff Dahncke said.

"The industry overused the 12-pack," said John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest, a trade publication. "This is just the start of a variety of new soft drink configurations you'll see tested."

The tests cross the entire Pepsi line, including Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist and Lipton Brisk. Next up are tests contracting 2-liter bottles to 1.5 and replacing 20-ounce bottles sold in convenience stores with 12-ounce plastic bottles and 16-ounce cans.

In supermarkets, brand-name 12-packs of cans typically go for $4.50 to $5. On frequent weekly specials, they plummet to $3. Shrinking the package by a third drops the regular price to $3.33 and to $2 to $ 2.50 for eight cans on special.

"In today's economic environment, entry-point prices are critical," said Eric Foss, Pepsi chief executive.

On a per-ounce basis, the price increase is a fraction of a penny. By the quart, the spread gets wider. In ditching the 12-pack, Pepsi also debuted an 18-pack that undercuts the eight-pack price from $1 to 74 cents a quart at Sweetbay Supermarket.

Why an 18-pack? Some time ago, Coke cut its case to 20 cans and it costs a buck more. Or at least it did until it cut prices this week, no doubt to counter Pepsi's moves.

In short, price hawks may need a pocket calculator.

Mark Albright can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8252.

Pepsi swaps 12-packs for eight-packs in Florida 10/06/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 9, 2008 3:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Wing of Channelside Bay Plaza being demolished to make way for Water Street Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — The developers of Channelside Bay Plaza originally wanted the name to include "Garrison." That would have fit, in a way, because the complex turned out to be fort-like, inwardly focused and unwelcoming.

    Demolition of the southwest wing of Channelside Bay Plaza is underway, with a big chunk of the building expected to come down today.
  2. City Council candidates weigh in on noise ordinances, pier reconstruction

    Local

    ST. PETERSBURG — Residents of Bayfront Tower Condos peppered City Council candidates Tuesday night with questions about noise ordinances, road repairs and the multi-million-dollar plan to rebuild the pier.

  3. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.

  4. Sen. Nelson urges FEMA to examine high number of denied flood claims

    Banking

    Sen. Bill Nelson urged FEMA on Tuesday to ensure fairness, proper oversight and transparency in processing Hurricane Irma aid following a report by the Palm Beach Post that 90 percent of Irma claims under the National Flood Insurance Program had been denied.

    Sen. Bill Nelson is calling for FEMA to ensure the flood claims process post-Hurricane Irma is fair and ethical following reports that 90 percent of claims under the National Flood Insurance Program were denied. | [Times file photo]
  5. Amazon expands in Tampa with Pop-Up shop in International Plaza

    Retail

    TAMPA — A new retailer known largely for its online presence has popped up at International Plaza and Bay Street.

    Shoppers walk past the new Amazon kiosk Tuesday at the International Plaza in Tampa. The kiosk, which opened last month, offers shoppers an opportunity to touch and play with some of the products that Amazon offers.
[CHRIS URSO   |   Times]