Pepsi Beverage company to drop artificial sweetener in drinks

PepsiCo says its decision is a commercial one simply responding to consumer preferences.

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play (BBC)
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United States beverage company Pepsi is set to remove artificial sweetener, Aspartame from Diet Pepsi following growing consumer concerns about its safety.

BBC reports that Aspartame-free cans of the drink will go on sale from August in America, but not in Britain.

PepsiCo says its decision is a commercial one simply responding to consumer preferences.

Last year, sales in Diet Pepsi fell by more than 5% in the US, a fall that has been associated with consumer's wariness of Aspartame as confirmed by Seth Kaufman, vice-president of Pepsi, who said:

"Aspartame is the number one reason consumers are dropping diet soda."

Diet Coke also suffered a loss of more than 6%.

PepsiCo says it will replace aspartame with another sweetener, sucralose, mixed with acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) which as Kaufman explained, would still be recognised by consumers as Diet Pepsi but might have a "slightly different mouth-feel".

There are however no plans to change the ingredients in the UK as a PepsiCo spokesman has said UK consumers love Diet Pepsi just as it is today.

Aspartame, which is about 200 times sweeter than sugar but contains very few calories has sparked controversy since it was first approved for use in the 1980s, despite being one of the most thoroughly tested and studied food additives.

Although the US Food and Drug Administration says there are more than 100 studies that support aspartame's safety, regulators agree that there should be a limit to how much of the sweetener people consume.

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