A revamped Diet Pepsi featuring an aspartame-free recipe is popping up on store shelves. Now, Diet Pepsi, along with Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi, will use sucralose in an attempt to salvage diminishing sales.
Sucralose is the same artificial sweetener usually branded as Splenda, while aspartame is the artificial sweetener usually branded as Equal or NutraSweet.
Essentially, the new Diet Pepsi swapped one artificial sweetener for another. It's noted by Pepsi's North America CEO Al Carey that the artificial sweetener had been the source of various complaints from its customers, according to CNN.
"[Diet drinks] are a definite drag on the business," he said at an investor conference in February.
"And the number one thing we see from consumers is a complaint about aspartame," continued Carey. "Aspartame is the sweetener that seems to get most of the negatives in the press and on YouTube."
Pepsi spokesperson Elisa Baker would not say whether the complaints that prompted the recipe change focused on safety concerns or taste, but the company stands behind aspartame's safety and thinks the consumers' fears are unfounded.
A 1970's study linked artificial sweeteners to cancer in lab rats, but there have been no studies linking the sweeteners to human health risks.
"It's the No. 1 thing that our customers have been calling about," said Seth Kaufman, a senior vice president at PepsiCo, according to the AP.
Regardless of the company's reasoning, however, the emergence of its new product will shed light on whether aspartame is to blame for reduced sales or if another issue is to blame, according to the Guardian.
Diet drink sales have declined as consumers opt for bottled teas and other non-carbonated beverages. Coca-Cola reported in April that Diet Coke sales were down 6 percent.
The new cans will be marked with the words "Now Aspartame Free" above the Pepsi circle logo.
You can still get your aspartame fix online, as previously reported by HNGN.