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Pepsi Next: Not quite diet, not quite regular

This screen shot provided PepsiCo, shows the advertisement for "Pepsi Next," a mid-calorie drink that has about half the calories of regular Pepsi at 60 calories per can. (AP Photo/PepsiCo)

NEW YORK – Pepsi is hoping to win back soda drinkers with a compromise.

Some people don’t like the calories in regular soda, but they loath the taste of zero-calorie diet drinks. So the nation’s No. 2 cola company is rolling out 60-calorie “Pepsi Next” – about half the calories of regular Pepsi.

The new cola – to hit stores nationally by the end of March – is Pepsi’s biggest product launch in years.

It’s being introduced as people are shifting away from sugary drinks to water or low-cal beverages.

Dr Pepper Snapple has already rolled out its low-calorie alternative, Dr Pepper Ten, with just 10 calories. It has sugar, unlike diet Dr Pepper. The company said the new drink helped boost fourth-quarter sales. AP