Diet Pepsi Back on the Aspartame

Soda maker juggles its zero-calorie portfolio to 'meet differing needs and taste preferences'

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

Pepsi zero calorie lineup

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Less than a year after removing aspartame from its Diet Pepsi in an effort to revive the brand, PepsiCo will bring back the old formula in the guise of Diet Pepsi Classic Sweetener Blend.

The September rollout also will include a third version of the zero-calorie carbonated soft drink, with Pepsi MAX reintroduced as Pepsi Zero Sugar and joining the current Diet Pepsi Now Aspartame Free on store shelves.

"Consumers want choice in diet colas, so we're refreshing our U.S. lineup to provide three options that meet differing needs and taste preferences," the company said in a statement.

The move comes after PepsiCo announced with fanfare this past summer that it was removing aspartame from Diet Pepsi.

"Diet cola drinkers in the U.S. told us they wanted aspartame-free Diet Pepsi, and we're delivering," Seth Kaufman, senior vice president of Pepsi and flavors portfolio for PepsiCo North America Beverages, said in August.

Mediocre sales, however, have Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo reconsidering the change and leaving the door open for future changes. Diet soda volume sales in convenience stores dropped 6.3%, and Diet Pepsi sales were down 11.9% during the 12-week period ending June 18, 2016, according to Nielsen and Cowen and Co.

Diet Pepsi Classic Sweetener Blend will be sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame potassium (ace K).

Diet Pepsi Now Aspartame Free is sweetened with a mixture of artificial sweeteners, ace K and sucralose.

And Diet Pepsi Zero Sugar will be sweetened with ace K.

Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
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