The name is retro; the beverage is not.
Here’s some heartbreaking news: The fruit-flavored soda brand Slice has been discontinued… for nearly a decade. Didn’t notice? Neither did I. But don’t worry, because today it’s been announced that Slice is back! Except that it’s completely different! Yes, it’s a bit confusing, but I can walk you through it.
Slice was originally launched in the 1980s by Pepsi to compete in the then-packed fruit-flavored soda game. But as Slice sales slipped and new brands like Sierra Mist were introduced, Pepsi eventually phased Slice out sometime in the late 2000s or early 2010s. Of course, now we’ve seen a resurgence of interest in retro soda brands — including the (at least temporary) reintroduction of brands like Crystal Pepsi, Clearly Canadian, and Surge. So somewhat unsurprisingly, someone — specifically New Slice Ventures — got a lawyer to help them scoop up the Slice name. But unlike the previously mentioned nostalgic brands that have returned in nearly identical forms, the new Slice is distinctly different from old Slice in a number of ways.
Here’s what’s the same: Slice still comes in a variety of fruit flavors, and the Slice logo — though in a different font — is still written in all lowercase letters. But outside of that, Slice has a completely revamped and hipper image. No longer just a “soda,” Slice is being billed as “a new sparkling water flavored only with USDA-certified organic fruit juices, organic flavors and carbonated water.” Those flavors — which will be sold in four-packs of 12-ounce cans — are Raspberry Grapefruit, Blackberry, Mango Pineapple, and Apple Cranberry. The new iteration of the brand also boasts “no added sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no artificial colors or caffeine,” meaning “Slice is only 25 calories per can which is up to 80% fewer calories than most regular cans of soda.”
And yet, despite eschewing the term “soda,” Glenn Backus of Revolution Brands — which helped with the creation and launch of the new Slice — made a number of comparisons to the “s”-word. “We worked very hard to create an organic sparkling water that tastes amazing and has a sweetness much closer to soda than any other sparkling water on the market,” Backus explained. “Customers have asked for a healthier alternative to their usual soda, but traditional sparkling water brands lack the flavor they crave. So, we created the new Slice.”
Uh, so is this a new version of the Slice you grew up with or not? And which answer is the good one? Those are questions you’ll have to answer for yourself.