Pepsi has fired the opening salvo in what looks set to be a battle of the mid-calorie colas. The company announced yesterday in Las Vegas that it is set to launch Pepsi Edge, the first full-flavoured cola with 50% less sugar, carbohydrates and calories than regular colas.

The new drink contains a sugar substitute called Splenda and high fructose corn syrup. The national rollout is due to begin late this summer.

In a statement, SVP and chief marketing officer at Pepsi-Cola North America Dave Burwick said: "The time is right, the proposition is strong and everyone we've talked to is ready for this idea."

Per 12-ounce serving, Pepsi Edge will have 70 calories, 20 grams of carbs and 20 grams of sugar; the equivalent serving of regular Pepsi has 150 calories, 41 grams of carbs and 41 grams of sugar.

Both Coca Cola and Dr Pepper are expected to release mid-calorie drinks later this year.