Diet Pepsi formula getting a sweetener tweak

Associated Press Modified: August 31, 2012 at 9:15 am •  Published: August 31, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) — Diet Pepsi is tweaking its formula to stay sweet a little longer.

PepsiCo Inc. is testing new artificial sweeteners that let the soda keep its taste for a longer period of time. The problem is that the current sweetener used in the soda — aspartame — loses its potency faster than high fructose corn syrup, the sweetener that's used in most regular sodas.

A person with knowledge of the situation says the company had considered importing versions of Diet Pepsi sold in other countries to the U.S. But now it's testing other sweetener mixes, with a new version set to come out as soon as next year.

The new version will use the same formula that creates Diet Pepsi's overall taste, according to the person, who requested anonymity because she wasn't authorized to speak publicly. But it will use a mix of artificial sweeteners, including acesulfame-potassium, or ace-K, that has a longer shelf life.

Aspartame on its own is more sensitive to heat, which is a problem when sodas are sitting in trucks or waiting to be shipped to retailers.

In an e-mailed statement, PepsiCo said that it's "always looking at ways to provide the best consumer experience," but that it has no plans to change the taste formula of Diet Pepsi.

It's not the first time PepsiCo is tweaking a diet soft drink. The company, based in Purchase, N.Y., made a similar switch to its Diet Mountain Dew in 2006. The Coca-Cola Co. tweaked the sweetener used Diet Sprite in 2000.

By blending artificial sweeteners, companies create a "synergistic effect" that prolongs the sweetener's potency, said John Sicher, publisher of the industry tracker Beverage Digest.



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