US: Pepsi To Put Aspartame Back Into Diet Variant

PepsiCo has announced plans to resume including aspartame in the formulation of Diet Pepsi, less than a year after it dropped the controversial sweetener.

The group said customer dissatisfaction has prompted the launch of a new variant, called Diet Pepsi Classic Sweetener Blend, which will use aspartame.  However, the bulk of Diet Pepsi will use sucralose and calorie-free sweetener Ace-K.

PepsiCo removed aspartame from Diet Pepsi in August 2015, over health concerns, but saw its retail sales drop by 10.6% in the first quarter of 2016 (compared to a 2.5% decline in the same period last year).  The group insisted its decision to row back was not linked to the drop in sales, claiming that reformulation often leads to declines, instead noting: “Consumers want choice in diet colas, so we’re refreshing our US line-up to provide three options that meet differing needs and taste preferences”.