7-Eleven, maker of the iconic slushy, sugary and colorful treats, plans to unveil a calorie-cutting version of the Slurpee made with Splenda to be known as Slurpee Lite, USA Today reported.
Slurpee Lite will target females in their 20s with this tagline: 'All flavor. No sugar.' An 8-ounce Slurpee Lite Fanta Sugar-Free Mango has 20 calories vs. 66 calories in an 8-ounce Fanta Wild Cherry Slurpee drink, the best-selling conventional Slurpee, the paper reported.
A light version of the Slurpee has been available in select markets, but the move by 7-Eleven will give the Slurpee Lite national exposure.
May 23 is known by Slurpee lovers as SlurpFree Day, when 7-Eleven rewards its customers with free Slurpee samples, and the date will be used to introduce patrons to the Slurpee Lite, according to USA Today.
We talked to a group who said they would drink Slurpees more often if we take out the sugar and reduce the calories, said Laura Gordon, vice president of brand innovation.
Lite Mango will be among the new Slurpee Lite flavors that will be available, while strawberry banana and cherry limeade will be rolled out in the summer.
Neal Barnard, an adjunct professor of medicine at George Washington University, told USA Today that the Slurpee Lite should not be considered a healthy alternative to the Slurpee.
Slurpee had zero nutritional value then, and it has zero nutritional value now. Now it's just a different kind of junk food, he told USA Today. This should not be mistaken as any kind of corporate responsibility. They're just trying to sell you the same stuff in a different package.
In anticipation of SlurpFree Day, you can find your nearest 7-Eleven here to get your free Slurpee sample.
While the Slurpee Lite may not be endorsed by nutritionists, it has the support of the American public.
Market research firm Mintel found 80 percent of consumers are interested in trying low-calorie, low-fat or low-sugar foods but 43 percent of them said taste is a barrier to enjoying light options of popular foods.