Red bull Vs. Pepsi: 9 Differences You Might Not Know

While dealing with life hassles, you want to bless your taste buds with some tasty drinks and energize yourself with energy boosters. However, in busy schedules, no one has time to make favorite drinks at home. Thankfully, you have got plenty of options to choose from.

Whether you want an energy drink or a soda, everything is available at your nearest store or vending machine.

As we are talking about available drinks, it is more likely that you must have tried Pepsi or red bull. Red Bull is among the top energy drink brands in the current market. To be precise, we can say that red bull is the first established energy drink brand that fulfilled the audience’s demand for an energizer drink.

On the other hand, we have Pepsi, and who doesn’t know about Pepsi? It wouldn’t be wrong to say that our grandparents, parents, us, and now our children all are accustomed to having sips of Pepsi to change our taste buds.

Barely a day goes by when you don’t have these drinks, but still, there are many things you are unaware of. Perhaps you already have a lot of questions, and that is why you are here. Since you are here, stick for some time and get yourself acquainted with a brief history of Red Bull and Pepsi and the differences between these two brands:

About Red Bull

Red Bull is owned by an Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz. He got the idea of developing red bull when he traveled around different Asian countries and noticed that people take caffeinated sodas to overcome their laziness. The idea was loved by the masses, especially extreme sports enthusiasts.

The company started in the 80s as a small business. With creative ideas and perseverance, it gained popularity and got the top position amongst all energy drink brands available in the market.

Mateschitz partnered with Krating Daeng to sell its product in Europe and the United States. The company’s successful marketing strategy let it accomplish what hardly any other starter brand can think of. It is now recognized internationally as an influential sports industry insider with a presence in 171 countries.

An important fact about red bull is that it sells only energy drinks. The company just aimed at energy drinks to keep the quality of their products high. An oddly packaged 8-ounce can of red bull claims that its ingredients would increase the performance capability.

About Pepsi:

Pepsi is amongst the most recognizable brands in the world today. Second, to its rival Coca-cola, the brand has its origin in a North Carolina pharmacy.

Pharmacist Caleb Bradham created and sold his formula in his drugstore. With the growing popularity of the drink, Bradham gave it a compelling name as Pepsi-Cola. In 1903, he trademarked the name and started selling his soda syrup throughout North Carolina. By the end of 1910, Pepsi was sold in 24 states through different franchisers.

After bankruptcy, Loft Inc. took a major share of the company and took over the international market.

Today, operating in more than 200 countries, Pepsi makes over $ 40billion in a year, and its brand name is worth more than $ 12 billion. With such a huge presence, the brands seem to be going nowhere.

Red bull Vs. Pepsi

1: Energy Drink or Soft Drink:

Red Bull and Pepsi are not the same. Red Bull is an energy drink, and Pepsi is a soft drink.

Energy drinks contain ingredients that are usually not found in soft drinks. Ingredients such as B group vitamins, guarana, ginseng, and Taurine are always part of the energy drinks and are barely present in soft drinks.

Moreover, an energy drink is a beverage that contains a high amount of caffeine. It is promoted as a product to boost mood, increase energy levels and reduce restlessness.

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On the other hand, regular Pepsi is a soft drink. A soft drink is usually a carbonated non-alcoholic beverage. The typical ingredient list contains flavorings, sweeteners, edible acids and juice, and a small amount of caffeine.

2: Does Pepsi Own Red Bull?

As talked above, Red Bull is an Austrian private company and is not affiliated with Pepsi or Coke. In fact, Red Bull appears to be the biggest competitor to Pepsi and Coke in the beverage market.

As Red Bull has surfaced as a top energy drink brand, PepsiCo also started producing caffeinated beverages such as Rockstar energy drinks.

3: Any Difference in Nutrient List?

A regular 8.4 fl. oz Red Bull can contain 110 calories, 27g of sugar, and 80mg of caffeine, and a standard 8.4 fl. oz Pepsi contains 150 calories, 29 g of sugar, and 27mg of caffeine.

Here is the list of some vital nutrients in Red Bull and Pepsi:

Pepsi content (8.45 fl oz)

Calories150
Total Fat 0g
Sodium 25mg
Total Carbohydrate 29g
Total Sugars 29g
Protein 0g
Caffeine   27mg
Phosphorus    30 mg
SweetenersHigh Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar

Red Bull Content (8.4 fl. oz)

Sugar  27g
Calorie 110 calories
Caffeine80mg
Carbohydrate28mg
Sodium105mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)22mg
Vitamin B55.05mg
Vitamin B65.05mg
Vitamin B125.1µg

●     Sugar:

Sugar is one of the energy sources for the human body that increases dopamine levels in the blood and thus lifts the mood. Pepsi contains 29 g of sugar, whereas red bull has 27g of sugar, which is considerably higher than the average amount permissible in both cases. With an average sugar intake of 25g for women and 36g for men, it can cause certain health problems in women.

●     Calories:

Regarding calories, this is the energy that the human body gets from food consumption. It is necessary for the body as it assists in the overall functioning of the body.

One can of red bull contains 110 calories, which is fairly acceptable as the normal limit for a day is 1600-2400 for women and 2400-3000 for men. And 8.45 fl. oz of Pepsi gives 150 calories which is more than Red bull.

●     Caffeine:

Caffeine is a natural booster to help the body overcome laziness and restlessness and improve concentration. So it’s a pretty good ingredient to be in an energy drink. There is 80mg of Caffeine in an 8.4 fl. oz can of red bull, whereas Pepsi contains only 27 mg of Caffeine.

The FDA recommended daily caffeine dose is 400mg. 27 mg of caffeine is way less than the average amount permissible. However, 80mg of caffeine in the red bull is fairly average but still doesn’t exceed the safety limits.

4: The Ingredient List of Pepsi and Red Bull:

The ingredient list of Pepsi is as follows:

  • Carbonated water
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Caramel color
  • Sugar
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Caffeine
  • Citric acid
  • Natural flavor

The ingredient list of red bull is as follows:

  • Carbonated Water
  • Caffeine
  • Calcium Pantothenate
  • Citric Acid
  • Glucose
  • Taurine
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Niacinamide
  • Magnesium Carbonate
  • Pyridoxine HCl
  • Natural and Artificial Flavors
  • Vitamin B12
  • Sucrose
  • Colorings

Pepsi has quite a simple ingredient list, whereas Red Bull’s list is quite extensive.

If you see the Red Bull ingredients list, you can see Taurine, which is mainly an active ingredient in most energy drinks. Red Bull claims that Taurine is synthetically produced to ensure quality and standard. It helps in nerve growth and lowers blood pressure.

Another key component that you can see in Red Bull is B-Vitamins. Just like every energy drink, red bull also pays special attention to B-vitamins.

On the other hand, phosphoric acid and citric acid are only part of Pepsi.

5: Their Marketing Strategy?

Despite severe competition in the beverage industry, Pepsi is known for its exciting marketing strategy and spends heavily on it. Even when Pepsi encountered an economic recession, it continued to perform well.

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The U.S. is the largest brand market, and it continues to invest in international markets for faster growth. It has expanded itself as a snacks and beverages brand that includes soda and low-calorie products.

The key theme of its marketing is to reflect your energy. The targeted age group is 13 to 35 and consists of all income segments from the lower middle to the upper class.

Pepsi ensures to make high-quality products, regularly updates products’ packaging, and keeps on adding nutritious choices for attracting the customers.

Digital marketing also helps in sales and profits. One such example of its popular digital marketing campaign is ‘Bring Home Happiness’ watched 1 billion times. The company now utilizes big data to create real-time and effective marketing messages.

It also heavily relies on sponsorships and partnerships such as the UEFA Champions League partnership. Sports marketing has also remained an essential part of Pepsi’s marketing strategy. Pepsi has a partnership with the National Basketball Association and the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Additionally, marketing on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram is also an important pillar of Pepsi’s sales and profits.

Red Bull is also known for its unique marketing strategy. Instead of following traditional marketing tactics, the company has done various daring campaigns and now dominates the energy drink industry.

It is active on social media and utilizes multiple channels and out-of-box approaches to stay in the talks. Their mind-blowing events and product quality are some of such strategies.

Unlike Pepsi, Red Bull has kept its focus solely on the beverage industry. The main focus was the audience and not the sales or products.

Its marketing strategy focuses on high-energy philosophy of life and way of life. The targeted audience is between 18-34 years old with average to high income, and who like extreme sports and athletic events.

The extreme sports events series like Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Red Bull Crashed Ice, Red Bull Air Race, and stunts like the Stratos space diving project helped the brand create its identity. It also has multiple teams’ ownerships, such as Scuderia Alphatauri, Red Bull Racing, F.C. Red Bull Salzburg, New York Red Bulls, etc.

The company sponsors a lot of events in different countries to promote the brand and attract more audiences. Parachutes in South Africa, Go-karting events in Kuwait, and Red Bull music academy in the USA are all Red Bulls.

6: Benefits of Red Bull and Pepsi:

Both can be beneficial in the short term if consumed in moderation.

A can of Red Bull can reduce your tiredness fatigue and keeps you alert, and improve your physical performance. So if you have work on schedule and cannot get over your sleep, Red Bull can help you for a short time.

In addition, based on multiple studies results, a red bull as an energy drink can improve cognitive performance, reaction time, memory, mood, and concentration.

If we look at Pepsi, a soft drink, it can also provide some benefits but overdoing it can be disastrous for your health. As it has less amount of caffeine, anyone who has low caffeine tolerance can prefer Pepsi.

7: Side effects of Red Bull and Pepsi:

If you ask which one is more harmful to health, then the answer is not simple. Many factors add up to the side effects.

If you drink in moderation, there will be hardly any side effects to a person with normal health. However, if you overdo it, both can be harmful.

Having red bull or any other energy drink in excess can lead to

  • Caffeine overdose
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Poor dental health
  • Obesity
  • Miscarriages, low birth weight, stillbirths (for pregnant women)
  • Heart and nervous system damages (children and adolescents)
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Meanwhile, having Pepsi or any other soft drink in excess can cause:

  • Weight gain
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart diseases
  • Sugar addiction
  • Cavities
  • Gout
  • Dementia
  • Cancer

On the whole, if we talk about which one is safer, both are safe.

Some countries banned Red Bull due to concerns about health issues. It is often criticized for high levels of caffeine and Taurine. The health officials in France shared that this increased amount can cause increased heart rates to unsafe levels.

It was also linked to the risk of miscarriage and several deaths. However, the ban is lifted now as no proof was collected regarding its side effects.

8: Net Worth of Red Bull and Pepsi:

In the beverage industry, many companies are venturing into their specific products. If we talk about the soda industry, it is topped by Coca-Cola and second by Pepsi. Contrarily, the energy drink industry is clearly dominated by the Red bull.

PepsiCo is one of the leading multinational food and beverage companies. Regarding market value, Pepsi ranks as one of the largest companies worldwide and one of the top soft drink brands worldwide.

The net revenue worldwide has increased from 39.47 billion U.S. dollars to 70.37 billion U.S. dollars in 2020.

Until the quarter ending June 30, 2021, PepsiCo’s revenue was $19.217 billion, a 20.52% increase year-over-year.

The company’s net worth as of September 2021 is $216.92billion.

Red Bull has grown very fast with its unique product and marketing strategy. In 2018, Red Bull sold 6.8 billion cans worldwide and 7.5 billion cans in 2019. The company’s top growth markets include India (30%), Eastern Europe (22%), and Brazil (22%).

As of September 2021, the company has a net worth of about 30 billion dollars. Although the company faced legal issues due to certain ingredients and health concerns, Red Bull overcame them all and became a successful energy drink brand.

9: Their Taste and Available Flavors

The original Red Bull flavor is its trademark. Its taste can be described as a carbonated syrup that still has a sweet, tangy, and citrusy taste. The original Red Bull has a sweeter and less bitter taste compared to sugar-free and caffeine-free flavors.

So, if you have it for the first time, you may get the impression that it has soda mixed with some medicine. Or you may classify this taste in your own words.

Red Bull also offers quite a decent list of flavors that are sweeter than the original one. Here are its flavors:

  • Blueberry
  • Cranberry
  • Coconut and Berry
  • Pear
  • Peach
  • Orange Blend
  • Kiwi-Apple
  • Tropical Fruits
  • Watermelon   

Pepsi also has a sweet taste. If you have tasted both Coke and Pepsi, you can easily differentiate that Pepsi is sweeter than coke. When you take the first sip, you will feel a citrusy flavor burst.

However, the taste doesn’t remain constant and disappears over the course of a full can.

Whether people would love its taste or not depends upon their likeness to a tangy taste. If they prefer citrus tanginess in their drinks, they would love it.

Over the years, Pepsi also rolled out many flavors, which include:

  • Pepsi Wild Cherry
  • Pepsi Vanilla
  • Pepsi free
  • Pepsi Natural
  • Pepsi Fire
  • Diet Pepsi
  • Crystal Pepsi

Tastes in specific countries and markets include:

  • Pepsi Jazz in the U.S.
  • Pepsi Samba, mango, and tamarind in Australia
  • Pepsi Twist Mojito in Italy
  • Pepsi Cappuccino in Russia and Romania
  • Pepsi Ice Cream in Russia
  • Pepsi Baobab, Pepsi Shiso, Pepsi White, and Azuki Sweet Bean Pepsi in Japan

Bottom Line:

So, here is some in-depth comparison of Pepsi and Red Bull. A closer look shows that despite many resemblances between the two brands, some sharp differences make these brands shine separately.

Both brands started from scratch and have come a long way with millions of consumers worldwide. Their commitment to efficiency has made them global businesses.

If you like Red Bull or Pepsi, you can enjoy the drink whenever you want but always remember that moderation is the key.