Dr Pepper's latest gambit: 60 calories a can

Dr Pepper is testing a product in between regular and diet sodas, using natural sweeteners.
Published: February 12, 2014
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Dr Pepper works on new formula

Americans are cutting back on both regular soda and diet soda. So Dr Pepper is testing something in between, with natural sweeteners.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group said Wednesday that it plans to test versions of its Dr Pepper, 7Up and Canada Dry sodas this year that have about 60 calories a can with only naturally derived sweeteners. That’s less than half the 150 calories in a can of regular Dr Pepper, but more than the 0 calories in the diet version.

The sodas would be sweetened sugar and stevia, rather than the artificial sweeteners used in traditional diet sodas or the high-fructose corn syrup used in most regular soda.

The beverage industry is trying to figure out ways to stop a years-long decline in U.S. soda consumption.

In particular, companies including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are worried about the decline of diet sodas. Executives blame the pullback on people’s concerns about artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame. More broadly, soda makers are trying to address an ongoing movement away from ingredients people feel aren’t natural.

On Wednesday, Dr Pepper reported a quarterly decline in sales volume, but its profit beat expectations. In 2011, the company also introduced its “Dr Pepper Ten,” which it said had just enough high-fructose corn syrup to overcome the taste of the artificial sweeteners that some people don’t like.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. said it would work with select national retailers to test the sodas.

Associated Press