Rise and shine. It's time for breakfast soda.
Taco Bell said Friday that it's adding Mtn Dew A.M — a mix of Mountain Dew soda and Tropicana orange juice — to its breakfast menu, which was rolled out earlier this year at select locations. Separately, the industry tracker Beverage Digest said that PepsiCo Inc. next year plans to introduce a drink made with juice, Mountain Dew Kickstart.
Mtn Dew A.M. is mixed in restaurants and only available at Taco Bell. Kickstart would be a packaged drink sold by PepsiCo.
John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest, noted that giving consumers drink options for the morning is a way for companies to boost their performance. Overall, per capita soda consumption has been on the decline since hitting its peak in 1998.
Mountain Dew Kickstart would also be a way for PepsiCo to feed off the popularity of energy drinks, which saw sales volume grow by nearly 17 percent last year. Each of the top three brands — Monster, Red Bull and Rockstar — saw double-digit gains, according to Beverage Digest.
A representative for Taco Bell wasn't immediately available to provide details on the orange juice-to-soda ratio in Mtn Dew A.M., or how widely it was available before earning a permanent spot on the breakfast menu. A PepsiCo spokesman declined to comment about Kickstart.
Taco Bell, which is owned by Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands Inc., announced the addition in conjunction with its new A.M. Crunchwrap, which combines scrambled eggs, cheese, a hash brown and bacon or sausage in a single tortilla. It has 680 calories with bacon, or 730 calories with sausage. A 16-ounce cup of Mtn Dew A.M. has 160 calories.
The Mexican-style chain introduced breakfast — which it refers to as "FirstMeal" — at about 800 restaurants in 14 states earlier this year. The chain plans to take the menu national by 2014 if the test goes well.
Although Taco Bell is looking to expand by offering higher-end options such as its new Cantina Bell menu, it's also finding success by appealing to younger men who crave junk food. In the U.S. sales at Taco Bell restaurants open at least a year experienced double-digit growth during the second quarter.
Yum Brands attributed the boost to its new tacos featuring shells made out of Nacho Cheese Doritos.