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Diet Pepsi Changes Sweeteners

Diet Pepsi is changing sweeteners.  Again.  Heh.

Oh noes.

Diet Pepsi is a no-calorie carbonated cola soft drink produced by PepsiCo, introduced in 1964 as a variant of Pepsi-Cola with no sugar. First test marketed in 1963 under the name Patio Diet Cola, it was re-branded as Diet Pepsi the following year, becoming the first diet cola to be distributed on a national scale in the United States. In the 1960s and 1970s its competition consisted of Tab, produced by The Coca-Cola Company, and Diet Rite soda, produced by Royal CrownDiet Coke was a later entrant to the diet cola market; though shortly after entering production in 1982 it became the primary competing diet cola to Diet Pepsi.

While the U.S. represents the largest single market for Diet Pepsi, it was launched in the U.K. in 1983 and has since become available on a global scale. The beverage composition, flavor variations and packaging varies based on the country of production. In some countries - primarily in Eastern Europe - the product is labeled and sold under the name Pepsi Light. In the UK it is called Pepsi Diet.

In the United States, Diet Pepsi is marketed as having zero calories, as FDA guidelines categorize products with fewer than five calories per serving to be labeled as containing “zero calories”.[15]It is also positioned as having no carbohydrates, as represented in the primary slogan, which as of 2011 is “0 carbs. 0 calories. It's the diet cola.”[16]

Though Diet Pepsi is represented worldwide as a low- or no-calorie beverage, the ingredients comprising its makeup vary in some cases by the country of origin. In the U.S., its ingredients are recorded as “carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate (preserves freshness), caffeine, citric acid, natural flavor; phenylketonurics: contains phenylalanine.”[16] In Canada, the ingredient listing reads: “carbonated water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, aspartame (124 mg/355 ml, contains phenylalanine), sodium benzoate, caffeine, flavor, acesulfame potassium (32 mg/355ml), citric acid, dimethylpolysiloxane.”[17] Comparatively in the U.K., Diet Pepsi is listed as consisting of “carbonated water, colour (caramel E150d), flavorings (including caffeine), phosphoric acid, sweeteners (aspartame, acesulfame K), acidity regulator (sodium citrate), preservative (sodium benzoate), citric acid, contains a source of phenylalanine.”[2]

In the composition of all no-calorie carbonated colas, an alternative 021 is used in place of sugar, which if used would result in the product containing calories. The initial formulation of Diet Pepsi was sweetened with the artificial sweetener saccharin;[18] though concerns over saccharin emerged in the early 1980s, prompting a shift to an alternative sweetener, aspartame,[19] which was marketed as the brand NutraSweet, in 1983.[20] Aspartame, which as of 2011 is the primary sweetener in Diet Pepsi, has been the subject of controversy, most notably in 1996 amid a 60 Minutesreport[21] on concerns alleging that aspartame might be linked to the development of brain tumors in humans. Critics of Aspartame have expressed concerns that numerous health risks may be associated with its consumption; however peer-reviewed comprehensive review articles and independent reviews by governmental regulatory bodies have analyzed the published research on the safety of aspartame and have described it as safe for consumption at current levels.[22][23][24] Aspartame has been deemed safe for human consumption by regulatory agencies in their respective countries,[24] including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.K. Food Standards Agency,[25] the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)[26] and Canada's Health Canada.[27]

 

USA Today -

The change comes as PepsiCo (PEP) looks to reinvigorate its namesake brands after losing market share to Coca-Cola in recent years.

Cans of Diet Pepsi around the country now list a mix of two artificial sweeteners, a pairing commonly found in newer diet sodas. Previously, Diet Pepsi used only aspartame, which is sensitive to heat and breaks down more easily.

This summer, PepsiCo declined to say whether it would go ahead with such a change after reports surfaced that it was testing the new sweeteners. Although the switch is only intended to help prevent the taste from degrading over time, companies are often sensitive to public perceptions that they might be tinkering with major brands. PepsiCo executives likely don't want to call any attention to the use of artificial sweeteners in the drink either.

When reached for comment Sunday, PepsiCo spokeswoman Andrea Canabal said Diet Pepsi using the new sweetener mix started hitting shelves in early December. She said the new mix will be more widely available in the coming weeks.

"It's not like a light switch. It'll start appearing as shelf space clears," she said. In January, Canabal said the company is planning a major ad campaign that will include a new logo with a heart and the theme "Love Every Sip."

The sweetener change will not be explicitly communicated in the ads, which will feature actress Sofia Vergara.

In addition to aspartame, cans of Diet Pepsi found in New York, Omaha, Nebraska, and the San Francisco Bay Area now list acesulfame potassium as an ingredient. The ingredient is often used in combination with other artificial sweeteners and can be found in a wide range of foods including baked goods, chewing gum and gelatin desserts.

John Sicher, editor and publisher of the industry tracker Beverage Digest, said the synergistic effect of mixing the two sweeteners is intended to help keep the drink's sweetening power at a constant level, making it taste fresh longer.

"A change in sweetener does not change the flavor," he noted.

PepsiCo said in a statement Sunday that it is adding a "very small amount" of acesulfame potassium "to ensure consistency with every sip." The sweeteners used in Diet Pepsi vary depending on the region of the world.

The move to improve Diet Pepsi comes amid a broader push by PepsiCo to boost sales of its flagship soda. Under pressure from investors, CEO Indra Nooyi earlier this year announced the company would step up investment in its flagship brands.

Already this year, PepsiCo has made several splashy moves including a wide-rangingpartnership with singer Beyonce and a multiyear deal with the National Football League to sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show. TV ads for Pepsi have also featured singer Nicki Minaj, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the boy band One Direction and international soccer stars including Lionel Messi.

Whether the efforts will pay off with increased sales remains to be seen. In the latest quarter, PepsiCo said its soda volume in North America fell 2%, reflecting the broader decline in soft drink consumption that has plagued the industry since 1998. But the company noted that its share of the market had improved.

For now, Diet Pepsi remains the No. 7 carbonated soft drink with 4.9% of the market, according to Beverage Digest. That's down from 5.3% in 2000. Meanwhile, Diet Coke's share has increased in that time from 8.7% to 9.6%. Diet Coke, which still only uses aspartame, overtook regular Pepsi to become the No. 2 soda brand in 2010.

Coke remains No. 1 and Pepsi is No. 3.

Still, Diet Pepsi rakes in roughly $5 billion in a year in revenue and remains one of PepsiCo's biggest moneymakers. The company, based in Purchase, N.Y., also makes Frito-Lay snacks, Tropicana juices and Quaker oatmeal.

It's not the first time a soda company is tweaking the sweeteners in its drinks; PepsiCo made a similar move with Diet Mountain Dew in 2006, while Coca-Cola did the same with Diet Sprite in 2000.

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