Coke bets on stevia to sweeten sales
It's rolling out the plant-based sweetener in its new Coca-Cola Life in Argentina. Will consumers give the formula a try?
The company has used stevia, a zero-calorie sweetener derived from a plant native to Paraguay, in 45 products, including Vitaminwater Zero and Fanta Select but never in cola, according to Reuters. PepsiCo already sells a cola called Pepsi Next in Australia that's sweetened with sugar and stevia much like Coca Cola Life, according to Beverage Digest's John Sicher. Pepsi's U.S. variant of the cola uses Aspartame and Acesulfame potassium, two high-intensity sweeteners.
Sicher believes blending sugar and stevia "may work pretty darn well," as he told MSN Money in an interview.
Coca-Cola executives likened the launch of Coca Cola Life, which has half the calories of regular Coke, with the successful 2005 debut of Coke Zero. But there are many reasons to be skeptical about Coca Cola Life.
For one thing, as Reuters noted, newly introduced lower-calorie sodas such as Pepsi Next and Dr Pepper 10 aren't selling well. The other is the unrelenting pressure from activists such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest to get people to drink less soda because it's high in calories and devoid of any nutritional value.
The outlook for soda is grim unless there's a "breakthrough" in sweetener technology, Reuters quotes PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi telling a conference earlier this year. PepsiCo is working on what it calls a "beverage innovation project," though it isn't clear what that means.
"If you let this go too long, another three or five years, the consumer will walk away" from carbonated soft drinks, Reuters quoted her as saying.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
Why do we keep playing with the health destruction from under-studied synthetic and derivative sweetners.
Oh yes --- we are going to pretend to be on a diet while drinking that crap and eating fries, cheeseburgers, and/or salads with dressings containing hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn-syrup.
In the meantime, the Senate passes an immigration bill with a national biometric identification mandate which will eventually be mandatory for everyone to do anything.
I drink the Coke sweetened with Splenda, yet never see that particular one mentioned. Wonder why?
Virtually every soft drink in the U.S. is sweetened with HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. This ingredient is in hundreds of other products. WHY? Because it is the healthiest choice for the citizen consumer? NO--because it's the cheapest way "food and drink" corporations can flavor their products. HFCS is a killer. Just look at the obesity epidemic which skyrocketed after it's introduction into our food supply. The AMA just recently came out with a strong statement--"Avoid fructose" It got little media fanfare.
As it's always been--Corporations and the corn lobby don't give a darn about your health or mine. They only care about making a profit.
My personal advice--don't buy anything with HFCS in it's ingredient list.
Cyclamates got a raw deal in the 1960s. Maybe we should give it another look.
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