Unlocking better-for-you options for beverages


PepsiCo is making a major push to improve the healthiness of its product portfolio. Consumers are clamouring for low-calorie drinks that are identical to their favourites, but replacing sugar with sweeteners also affects the flavour and mouthfeel. Resolving this problem is difficult: it is highly constrained, and has been extensively studied. When PepsiCo asked Innovia to look for brand new ways to improve the flavour of low-calorie beverages, we gulped, but rose to the challenge.


In close collaboration with PepsiCo, we explored the fundamental biology of how we perceive sweetness, the physicochemistry of sweetener molecules, and the rheology of saliva. This led us to develop a set of thirty hypotheses to explain the differences between high- and low-calorie beverages. We then used these hypotheses as a basis for idea generation and development, uncovering novel and interesting ways to solve the problems we had identified.


PepsiCo is a world leader in the field of sweetness perception, and the fresh insights and ideas we brought will help keep it at the forefront of the industry: five of our early-stage ideas have been chosen as “high priority” for investigation.