February 11/Press Association -- Pepsi is the latest brand to launch a new "healthy" option.

Pepsi Raw, launched in the U.K., is said to be made from natural ingredients and contains no artificial preservatives, colours, flavorings or sweeteners.

It is the first time that Pepsi has added a new drink to its U.K. range in more than 10 years.

Pepsi claims that by replacing corn syrup with cane sugar, it has managed to reduce the calorie content of a 300ml bottle from around 120 calories to around 90 calories.

Traditionally, Pepsi contains fructose corn syrup, sugar, artificial colorings, phosphoric acid, caffeine, citric acid and natural flavors.

In comparison, Pepsi Raw has only natural ingredients including apple extract, plain caramel coloring, coffee leaf, tantaric acid from grapes, gum arabic from acacia trees, cane sugar and sparkling water. It is paler in color and less fizzy than other cola brands.

Cutting the amount of sugar in the drink could also help prevent damage to teeth.

The company hopes that the introduction of Pepsi Raw will compete for a greater share of the cola market from the leader Coca-Cola and at the same time it will capitalize on the growing consumer demand for more natural products.

The U.K. cola market is worth £6 billion ($11.7 billion) a year and is dominated by the two companies that have been rivals for more than 100 years.

Currently, Coca-Cola, outsells Pepsi in the U.K. soft drinks market.

Coca-Cola held on to its position as the U.K.'s most valuable grocery brand in 2007.

Pepsi marketing director, Bruno Gruwez, said, "We are really proud that the U.K. is leading the way with the launch of Pepsi Raw, which is the most significant innovation from Pepsi UK in the last 15 years.

"Responding to consumer trends toward premium and more natural products, it contains no artificial preservatives and is made using ingredients from natural sources. By launching Pepsi Raw in bars and clubs, we hope to engage with customers in a new way and are confident that they will enjoy its sophisticated cola taste."

Initially, Pepsi Raw will only be available in selected bars and clubs in seven cities -- London, Manchester, Glasgow, Brighton, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool, although a wider roll-out is expected later in the year.

From the February 18, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash