We Tried Pepsi Mango, a Sweet New Soda with a Tropical Twist
Cherry and lemon colas are old hat: Pepsi Mango is the new tropical twist.
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Pepsi Mango? Knew your grandfather, I did. In my basement, I still have an empty bottle of Pepsi Light, the long-gone diet lemon-flavored cola from the ’70s. Pepsi Light is one of many nostalgic things that Brian Bellmont and I wrote about in our book, Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? It kind of tasted like Diet Pepsi that had been poured over ice cubes you’d previously polished with Pledge.
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But did we drink it? You bet your bell-bottoms we did. There wasn’t a lot of soda variety in the 1970s and early 1980s, even if drinking Pepsi with milk was a thing. Anything different was a real treat. I’m sure I washed down many a Marathon candy bar with a Pepsi Light while watching the latest Charlie’s Angels episode on TV.
Plenty of colas have come and gone since Pepsi Light’s heyday. I recently tried Coca-Cola Starlight, which supposedly tasted like space. (Spoiler: It did not.) And Pepsi recently came out with Pepsi Nitro and its similar version of Coca-Cola Starlight: starry pepsi. So of course I had to get my hands on Pepsi Mango, the latest fruit-meets-cola flavor. Here’s my tropical take.
What Is Pepsi Mango?
Pepsi Mango is a new version of Pepsi that mixes traditional cola with a splash of mango fruit flavor. It comes in both Pepsi Mango Regular and Pepsi Mango Zero Sugar. I tried the full-sugar version for this Pepsi Mango review.
I love fresh mangoes, and when I cracked open the can of Pepsi Mango, I definitely smelled a sweet hint of that tasty tropical fruit. The can is done up in traditional Pepsi blue, with accents of orange and artistic mango slices decorating the label.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that “clarified mango juice concentrate” was third on the can’s ingredient list, after carbonated water and high-fructose corn syrup. There are 150 calories per 12-ounce can, same as in a regular 12-ounce Pepsi.
Pepsi Mango Review
Mango is a fairly unique fruit flavor. Growing up on a farm in the Midwest, I didn’t eat one until I was probably in college—and from then on, I loved them. They’re tasty and sweet and even a little creamy, when perfectly ripe. When I sipped the Mango Pepsi, I was definitely reminded of the taste of a juicy, fresh mango slice. There’s kind of an overall tropical taste—even a little bit floral.
But as crazy a sweet tooth as I have, I find a full glass of regular cola to be about as sweet as I can handle. Pepsi Mango is just overwhelmingly sweet, as if someone sat there and kept dumping spoonfuls of sugar into the can. If anything, that’s accented by the addition of the mango flavor. I took about four sips, and had no desire to drink any more.
A tang of tartness would’ve made the Pepsi Mango a more enjoyable drink. I’m willing to accept that someone who regularly drinks full-sugar cola might find Pepsi Mango to be the drink of their dreams, but I think the added mango flavor makes it even sweeter than a regular Pepsi.
How to Get Pepsi Mango
As of March 22, 2022, Pepsi Mango is available nationwide wherever you buy Pepsi products. It’s sold in 12-ounce cans and 20-ounce bottles. So if Pepsi Mango sounds like the cola you crave, you should be able to buy all you want.
How Long Is It Available?
Unlike some exotic drinks—Coke Starlight, I’m looking at you—Pepsi Mango isn’t a limited-edition beverage. It’s a permanent addition to the Pepsi lineup.
It seems to me as if Pepsi Mango would make a bigger splash as a summer-only, beach-party, get-it-while-you-can offering. Put it in the category of Jones Soda’s Turkey and Gravy soda, and people might buy it as a novelty drink or fun party beverage. I’m not sure the world is going to be scooping Pepsi Mango off the shelves as a regular purchase, though.
Look, maybe you love mangos. Maybe you want to sit out in a lawn chair this summer and pretend you’re picking mangos as they fall from the trees and squeezing them into your cola. In that case, I won’t stop you, go buy all the Mango Pepsi you want. But if I’m drinking any fruit-flavored cola, it’s going to be Pepsi Wild Cherry, at least until Pepsi Light makes a comeback.