Sierra Mist Lawsuit: The Reason Why PepsiCo Replaced It with Starry
Sierra Mist Lawsuit

In the competitive world of soft drinks, brands often undergo significant changes to stay relevant and meet consumer preferences. One such change occurred when PepsiCo decided to replace Sierra Mist with a new beverage called Starry.

The transition raised eyebrows and led to speculation about the reasons behind the switch. This article will talk about the circumstances surrounding the Sierra Mist lawsuit and why PepsiCo chose to introduce Starry as its replacement.

Background on Sierra Mist

In January 2023, PepsiCo replaced Sierra Mist with Starry, a new lemon-lime soda, in part because Sierra Mist had been losing market share and sales since 2018. Sierra Mist had less than 1% of the soda market and was unable to compete with Sprite, the market leader owned by Coca-Cola. 

Sierra Mist Lawsuit

Starry is aimed at competing with Sprite and 7 Up, and is also targeted at Gen Z. The name Starry is meant to evoke creativity, beauty, and optimism, and is associated with Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Starry is also slightly different from Sierra Mist in that it’s less sweet and uses high-fructose corn syrup instead of real sugar, which gives it a crisper citrus flavor. 

The Lawsuit

The catalyst for the significant change was a lawsuit involving Sierra Mist. The lawsuit centered around allegations that PepsiCo’s claims about Sierra Mist being a “natural” soda were misleading. The plaintiff argued that while Sierra Mist was marketed as a natural product, it contained ingredients that were far from natural.

This lawsuit brought unwanted attention and put PepsiCo in a difficult position, as the company faced scrutiny over its marketing practices and product formulation.

Legal and Consumer Pressures

The legal pressure from the lawsuit was coupled with growing consumer demand for transparency and healthier options. Consumers increasingly sought beverages with clear ingredient lists and no artificial additives.

PepsiCo recognized that continuing to market Sierra Mist under the same name and formulation could damage its reputation and lead to further legal and consumer backlash.

The Introduction of Starry

In response to the lawsuit and changing consumer preferences, PepsiCo decided to replace Sierra Mist with a new lemon-lime soda called Starry.

Starry was launched with a promise of a cleaner, crisper taste and a formulation that met the demands of modern consumers. The rebranding effort was also aimed at distancing the new product from the negative publicity surrounding Sierra Mist.

Starry’s marketing focused on its refreshing taste and its appeal to a younger, more health-conscious audience. PepsiCo hoped that by starting fresh with a new brand, it could regain consumer trust and compete more effectively in the lemon-lime soda market.

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Product Reformulation and Branding

The launch of Starry involved a complete overhaul of the product’s formulation and branding. PepsiCo aimed to create a beverage that aligned better with contemporary consumer expectations. This included using fewer artificial ingredients and focusing on a taste profile that was both satisfying and perceived as more natural.

The branding of Starry was designed to be vibrant and appealing, with packaging that stood out on store shelves. PepsiCo invested heavily in marketing campaigns to promote Starry, leveraging social media, influencer partnerships, and targeted advertisements to reach its desired audience.

Market Reception

The market reception to Starry has been mixed. Some consumers appreciated the new taste and the brand’s commitment to using fewer artificial ingredients.

Others, however, remained loyal to Sierra Mist and were disappointed by the change. PepsiCo’s challenge was to win over these consumers while attracting new ones who valued the updated formulation and branding.

Early sales data indicated that Starry was making inroads into the lemon-lime soda market, but it was clear that PepsiCo would need to continue innovating and listening to consumer feedback to maintain and grow its market share.


The replacement of Sierra Mist with Starry was a strategic move by PepsiCo in response to a lawsuit and shifting consumer preferences. The legal challenges surrounding the natural claims of Sierra Mist, combined with the demand for more transparent and healthier beverage options, prompted PepsiCo to rethink its approach to the lemon-lime soda market.

By introducing Starry, PepsiCo aimed to start fresh with a product that better aligned with modern consumer expectations. While the transition has not been without its challenges, it represents a significant effort by PepsiCo to adapt and stay competitive in a dynamic market.

People May Ask

Why did PepsiCo replace Sierra Mist with Starry?

PepsiCo replaced Sierra Mist with Starry due to a lawsuit challenging the natural claims of Sierra Mist and changing consumer preferences for healthier, more transparent beverage options.

What was the lawsuit about?

The lawsuit alleged that PepsiCo’s marketing of Sierra Mist as a natural soda was misleading, as the product contained ingredients that were not natural.

How is Starry different from Sierra Mist?

Starry features a new formulation with fewer artificial ingredients and a cleaner, crisper taste. It was also rebranded to appeal to a younger, health-conscious audience.

How has the market reacted to Starry?

The market reaction to Starry has been mixed. Some consumers appreciate the new taste and branding, while others remain loyal to Sierra Mist. PepsiCo continues to work on winning over consumers and growing its market share with Starry.

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Aanchal Rao