Diet Pepsi drops artificial aspartame sweetener, citing sales decline

Posted at 5:27 PM, Apr 24, 2015

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Diet Pepsi will soon have a new ingredient. But don’t worry. It will still taste the same.

Pepsi is changing the artificial sweetener it uses, hoping to get more people drinking its diet sodas.

It’s dumping the sweetener called aspartame in its Diet Pepsi, Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi sold in the U.S. starting in August. Pepsi believes that the No. 1 reason for the decline in sales of its diet colas is aspartame.

Aspartame (you know it as Equal or NutraSweet) is 200 times sweeter than sugar and it’s used in a lot of low-calorie food and drinks, including Coca-Cola’s diet sodas.

Pepsi is replacing it with another kind of artificial sweetener that is a blend of sucralose (Splenda) and acesulfame potassium.

The change comes after extensive research and testing of U.S. diet soda drinkers, the company said.

“We recognize that consumer demand is evolving and we’re confident that cola-lovers will enjoy the crisp, refreshing taste of this new product,” said senior vice president Seth Kaufman in a statement.

Aspartame has stirred some backlash over the years, but both the Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority have said that it is safe.

Still diet beverages have come under more scrutiny recently as consumers look for a more healthy alternative.

Rival Coca-Cola said Friday that it does not currently have plans to change the sweetener in its own diet soda.