Pepsi Working On New Sweetener For Diet Pepsi In US Markets
August 31, 2012

Pepsi Working On New Sweetener For Diet Pepsi In US Markets

Lee Rannals for — Your Universe Online

PepsiCo is working on a new Diet Pepsi product that will taste more like what it serves in its international markets.

The company is aiming to create a Diet Pepsi formula for the U.S. that tastes like what it does as soon as its made, before it is exposed to the heat and transportation it faces when being moved from production to retail stores.

The artificial sweetener used in U.S. Diet Pepsi, aspartame, breaks down and loses some of its sweetness in high temperatures, according to a bottler.

Too much shaking during transportation makes the taste more fake, particularly for those drinks that have been transported during the summer.

"It's like handling eggs," an independent PepsiCo bottler told MarketWatch.

Essentially, the flavor change to the U.S. Diet Pepsi would make the drink sweeter, and it is not necessarily a change in formula.

"While we are always looking at ways to provide the best consumer experience, we have no intention of changing the Diet Pepsi formula or the great taste that our consumers know and love," PepsiCo spokeswoman Andrea Foote told MarketWatch.

The bottler said the company is testing a few formulas with fans of Diet Pepsi in the U.S. to see if it passes their taste tests.

One person familiar with the situation told MarketWatch that variations from Canada and Saudi Arabia were tried out in initial tests, but PepsiCo is now looking at other formulas that use a blend of artificial sweeteners.

According to the report, the bottler said if a suitable replacement is selected, PepsiCo will have it out on the market in the U.S. by early 2013.

U.S. Diet Pepsi sales dropped 8.2 percent in 2011, according to Beverage Digest, which was more than twice as much as the 4 percent decline by main competitor Diet Coke. Beverage Digest ranks Diet Pepsi as the number seven soda in the country, while Diet Coke is at number two, and Coke remains at one.