Blind Taste Test of Starry and Sierra Mist Shows ‘Clear’ Winner
Pepsi is permanently replacing Sierra Mist with a new lemon/lime soda named Starry. We tried both and decided on a clear winner.
Pepsi's Sierra Mist never really took off. The Sprite competitor has been a staple at soda fountains has been doing its best to battle Sprite since being released in the early 2000s. After two decades it's rare to hear anyone order a Sierra Mist by name. Usually, customers will just say "I'll have a Sprite or something similar."
In order to try and capture some more market share, Pepsi has relaunched its lemon-lime soda as Starry. Designed to appeal to Generation Z consumers, the new soda is described as a "great-tasting soda bursting with lemon lime flavor." Starry's hip-looking logo and colorful bottle are obviously aimed at the TikTok crowd.
What's the difference between Starry and Sierra Mist?
A quick scan of the ingredients shows that Starry and Sierra Mist are almost identical in every way -- except for one important ingredient. While Sierra Mist has been made with real sugar, Starry's list of ingredients reveals that the new soda has replaced sugar with high fructose corn syrup.
The switch of sugars adds two more grams of "added sweeteners" in Starry, giving the new soda slightly more carbs and calories. While Sierra Mist was 140 calories, Starry clocks in at 150 per serving. The new soda also has 39 grams of carbs, two more than Sierra Mist had.
Does Starry or Sierra Mist Taste Better?
We conducted a blind tasting of both sodas poured right from the refrigerator out of brand-new, 2-liter plastic bottles. Tasters had no idea which soda was which, but all decided that Starry had more of a lemon-lime aroma.
After tasting both sodas several times our tasters agreed that Starry had more of a "syrupy sugar" taste, while Sierra Mist was slightly "dry" tasting. Each taster unknowingly said they preferred Sierra Mist over Starry because of the more sugary taste of the new soda.
However, none of our taste testers were actually in the target demographic for Starry. So, we also included my 11-year-old son, who is one of those Generation Z drinkers that Pepsi is targeting with this new drink. The blind tasting resulted in an overwhelming preference for Starry. He said the newer soda had a "cleaner" taste and was more thirst-quenching.
Starry is here to stay
Regardless of your preference, Sierra Mist's days are numbered. Once the stock is gone your only choice will either be Starry or Sprite. The good news is that unless you're drinking both of them side by side chances are pretty good that you won't even notice a difference.