7-Eleven Rolls Out Diet Pepsi Slurpee

DALLAS -- With an aim to hang on to older Slurpee drinkers with changing tastes and demands, 7-Eleven Inc. said it is launching several new flavors of its signature frozen carbonated beverage -- including a first-ever, no-calorie Diet Pepsi version.

The Dallas-based convenience store chain said Thursday its lineup of new flavors includes Crystal Light Pineapple Orange, which is targeted at women, dieters and diabetics, as well as those watching their carbohydrate intake. The pineapple-orange flavor will be followed by a Crystal Light Strawberry Kiwi that will be sold at some stores beginning in October, the Dallas Business Journal reported.

7-Eleven also is jumping onto the energy-drink bandwagon with Sobe Energy, the first Slurpee energy drink. The citrus-punch-flavored beverage, with guarana, ginseng and taurine, is aimed at fitness-minded 18- to 34-year-old customers, 7-Eleven said.

The company said it has teamed with Mountain Dew for the "LiveWire" Slurpee; with Sprite for the "Remix" version; and with Fanta for a new banana split flavor. Other new offerings include Memphis Melon and Hawaiian Punch, the report said.

"Flavor development is an exacting science," said John Ryckevic, Slurpee category manager for 7-Eleven. "Something may sound great, but creating a carbonated, frozen version that meets flavor expectations sometimes takes a while. A few that sound great don't make the cut because they can't meet our flavor standards. Diet and calorie-free Slurpee flavors have posed challenges for years that we were finally able to crack."

The no-calorie Diet Pepsi Slurpee will be sold at participating stores beginning Friday. The other flavors will be available starting this month, the company said.

On average, 7-Eleven sells about 13 million Slurpees per month at its 5,800 stores in the United States and Canada and at more than 19,200 stores in other countries, the company said. The drink was introduced in 1965.