Right off the bat, we see a couple of problems with this move. One, we weren't aware that anyone over the age of 12 drank Slurpees. Two, at 66 calories for an 8-oz. size (about the caloric equivalent of four Saltine crackers), regular Slurpees weren't exactly liquid mac-n-cheese. The new low-cal option will contain just 20 calories, about the same as a carrot. (If you pick up a Slim Jim or some Jolly Ranchers to go with that Slurpee Lite, you are screwed.)
Because the new Slurpee Lite is made with Splenda instead of sugar, it could be a viable option for diabetics; however, they are not 7-Eleven's target audience, and, come to think of it, we've never heard our diabetic maiden aunt bemoaning the fact that she is Slurpee-deprived.
“We talked to a group who said they would drink Slurpees more often if we take out the sugar and reduce the calories,” Laura Gibson, vice president of brand innovation, told USA Today. (That group also believes that glitter makes great “body art” and that if you jump up and down after sex you won't get pregnant.)
The new Slurpee has the tagline “All flavor. No sugar,” and will be offered first in Fanta Sugar-Free Mango Glory — “Bring the Tropics to Your Mouth.” Low-cal strawberry-banana flavor will debut in July, and cherry-limeade in August.
“Now it's just a different kind of junk food,” nutritionist Neal Barnard, adjunct associate professor of medicine at George Washington University, 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. Slurpee had zero nutritional value then, and has zero nutritional value now.”
Still, if we haven't convinced you not to fill your body with nutrient-free chemical crap and you are determined to compare regular Slurpee brain freeze to Brain Freeze Lite, Wednesday, May 23, is “Free Slurpee Day” from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at all 7-Elevens. That is, “while supplies last,” and 7.11 oz. size only.
Follow Samantha Bonar @samanthabonar.