PepsiCo to reintroduce Aspartame to Diet Pepsi

In bid to revive growth, PepsiCo to revamp diet cola lineup

Pepsi made the changes last August in response to customer complaints about aspartame and unfounded fears that the sweetener causes cancer.

PepsiCo will also rebrand “Pepsi Max” as “Pepsi Zero Sugar” to make it clear that it is a diet drink. PepsiCo will continue to sell the aspartame-free Diet Pepsi as its main diet cola offering.

At the time, PepsiCo said that consumers wanted aspartame-free drinks.

Those that avoid artificial sweetener acesulfame commonly called Ace K, increased from 13% to over 28%.

There will now be three different kinds of diet Pepsi.

However, the declining sales of Diet Pepsi and increasing demand from fans of the aspartame version – via social media – pushed the company to re-introduce the Diet Pepsi with aspartame in September.

The changes were first reported by the publication Beverage Digest and later confirmed by PepsiCo.

However, multiple studies from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) who searched for a correlation between aspartame intake and brain tumors, lymphomas or leukemias found there was no direct health risks associated with the additive. But further decline of 5.8% in the last 12 months has prompted PepsiCo to backtrack, and reintroduce the original formulation, which contained aspartame. One of it will be sweetened with sucralose and the other two with aspartame. The change – which is only in the United States – is to more clearly communicate to consumers that it is a zero-calorie product. USA volumes of Coke Zero fell 3.3% in the first quarter, according to Beverage Digest.

In the first quarter of the year, the sales volume for Diet Pepsi dropped 10.6 percent, figures from industry tracker Beverage Digest show.

In April 2015 Pepsi said it was removing Diet Pepsi aspartame as consumer surveys said the zero-calorie sweetener was the main factor that restrained Americans from consuming diet cola.

Legal concerns factored into PepsiCo’s decision to stick with the name Pepsi Max instead of Pepsi Zero when it relaunched the diet cola in the 2009, according to people familiar with the matter.