PURCHASE, NY — In response to consumer demand, PepsiCo North America Beverages has announced that its Diet Pepsi products will be free of aspartame starting this August.
“Diet cola drinkers in the U.S. told us they wanted aspartame-free Diet Pepsi and we’re delivering,” said Seth Kaufman, senior vice-president of Pepsi and Flavors Portfolio for PepsiCo North America Beverages. “We recognize that consumer demand is evolving and we’re confident that cola-lovers will enjoy the crisp, refreshing taste of this new product.”
The reformulated Diet Pepsi products — including Diet Pepsi, Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi — will be sweetened with a blend of sucralose and acesulfame potassium.
PepsiCo developed the new sweetener formulation after
“extensive research and testing” with diet cola drinkers in the United States. In the past two years, diet drinks have dragged on carbonated beverage sales for Pepsi and its competitors as consumers increasingly avoid artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame. During a Feb. 19 presentation with the investment community at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference, PepsiCo addressed the trend and its impact on the business.
“The No. 1 thing we see from consumers is a complaint about aspartame,” said Al Carey, chief executive officer of PepsiCo Americas Beverages. “Aspartame is just one sweetener, but it’s the one that seems to get most of the negatives in the press and on YouTube…“So I’d say that that diet business stays down for a while. We have some ideas on how we might address it. But, yes, it’s a definite drag on the business.”