PepsiCo has lined up the launch of a stevia-sweetened extension to its Tropicana orange juice portfolio in the US.

The company said yesterday (30 March) that Trop50 will roll out nationwide next month in three variants - Trop50 Pulp Free, Trop50 Some Pulp and Trop50 Pulp Free Calcium & Vitamin D. The brand extension is naturally sweetened from the stevia plant and carries a calorie count of 50.

Trop50 replaces Tropicana's previous Light 'n Healthy orange juice beverage, which was made with an artificial sweetener.

"We take great pride in leading the category based on the input we receive from our widespread and passionate consumer base," said Neil Campbell, president of Tropicana. "Trop50 is a unique and groundbreaking product for people looking to reduce their sugar and calorie intake while still getting powerful nutrition."

All varieties are available in 59-oz cartons at a suggested retail price of US$3.59, while Trop50 Pulp Free Calcium & Vitamin D is also available in 12-oz bottles, which are available for a suggested retail price of $1.69.

The launch will be backed by a television advert featuring US actress Kyra Sedgwick.

The natural, no calorie sweetener in Trop50 is PureVia, made from a high purity extract of the sweetest component of the stevia plant called Reb A, PepsiCo said.

Last month, PepsiCo warned that Tropicana faces tougher competition in Western Europe going forward and must work hard to offset rising supply chain costs.