US sweetener switch for Diet Pepsi, no change at Coca Cola

PepsiCo Inc. will remove the sweetener aspartame from Diet Pepsi in the US to address consumer concerns about the artificial additive and reverse slumping diet soda sales.

The new sweetener formulation will be used in Diet Pepsi, Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi and was developed after extensive research and testing with US diet cola drinkers, the company said.

A PepsiCo spokesperson said that beginning this August, PepsiCo will be removing aspartame out of Diet Pepsi in the US.

‘While the safety of aspartame has never been in question, we are responding to consumers in the US who have been asking for Diet Pepsi to offer an aspartame-free cola with the same great taste for some time. This change is specific to Diet Pepsi beverages sold in the US only and there are no changes to any PepsiCo beverages in Australia or New Zealand at this time,?PepsiCo said.

Diet Pepsi had about half of Diet Coke’s 8.5% category market share in the US last year.

Coca-Cola’s Diet Coke is also sweetened with aspartame. Coca-Cola South Pacific said in a statement to C&I WEEK: ‘There are currently no plans to change the sweetener for Diet Coke. Diet Coke is a great brand and an important part of our portfolio.

“All of the beverages we offer and ingredients we use are safe. Aspartame is one of the most thoroughly researched and studied food ingredients in use today, including more than 200 scientific studies that support its safety.”

Coca-Cola South Pacific has ‘no plans to change’ its successful Diet Coke product.

PepsiCo has reported first quarter 2015 organic revenue growth of 4.4% and gross margin expansion, while net revenue declined 3% due to foreign exchange movements.

‘Our focus on innovation, brand-building and marketplace execution, funded in part by our productivity initiatives, continues to drive strong, fundamental business performance,’ said PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi.

In Australia/New Zealand, PepsiCo markets four brand portfolios: The Smiths Snackfood Co, Quaker Oats, PepsiCo Beverages, and Bluebird Foods NZ.

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