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Diet Coke with Splenda

Corporate giants try to squeeze new profits from old products Diet Coke, Tide getting new versions
- Bruce Mohl, Boston Globe
Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Two huge consumer brands have been busy cloning themselves.

Procter & Gamble Co. rolled out a cold-water version of its blockbuster Tide laundry detergent earlier this month. Coca-Cola Co., meanwhile, unveiled plans to start selling a seventh version of Diet Coke, this time sweetened with Splenda instead of aspartame.

In the parlance of marketing professionals, both companies were doing line extensions, trying to expand the popularity of an existing brand by tweaking it slightly or significantly. Each time a company comes up with a new and improved version of an old product -- and there are thousands of them each year -- a consumer has to decide whether the new version is really any better.

"It's confusing. There's no doubt about it," said Kathleen Seiders, associate professor of marketing at Boston College. "It can get very complicated when people go into the supermarket and see 45 versions of Tide."

The reason companies do so many line extensions and product reformulations is because it's far less risky than creating a new product. It's a way of testing the waters to see whether a consumer need can be filled by tweaking an existing product. The trick, from the marketer's standpoint, is to attract new customers without alienating too many of the existing ones.

Coca-Cola, which had a disastrous experience trying to replace original Coke with New Coke in 1985, is now about as cautious as you can get in tinkering with its current products.

Last week, it said it would add another version of its market-leading Diet Coke that would substitute one synthetic sweetener for another. The new Diet Coke with Splenda will complement, but not replace, the existing Diet Coke with aspartame.

"Many consumers told us they liked the taste of Splenda and wanted a Splenda-sweetened option under the Diet Coke brand, so we're obliging them," said Dan Dillon Jr., a Coca-Cola vice president. "The millions of current Diet Coke devotees across America shouldn't be concerned -- the Diet Coke they love will stay just as it is."

Coke management is probably hoping that Diet Coke with Splenda will bring new customers to the brand, but the move is also a way of easing existing customers ever so gently toward Splenda. The new Diet Coke packaging will feature the name of the sweetener and a yellow streak on the front label. Usually such information is buried in the fine print on the back.

PepsiCo Inc. is making a similar move, replacing the aspartame in its one- calorie Pepsi One product with Splenda, while leaving its aspartame-sweetened Diet Pepsi unchanged.

Sales of Splenda, the brand name for sucralose, are exploding, while aspartame appears to be fading. Splenda has a longer shelf life and doesn't react to heat, and Johnson & Johnson, the marketer of Splenda in the United States, makes it sound almost natural.

"It's made from sugar so it tastes like sugar, with no unpleasant aftertaste," the company says in its literature, downplaying the fact that Splenda is created by adding chlorine atoms to sucrose, or table sugar.

Whole Foods Market, the chain that bars what it considers unhealthy products from its aisles, refuses to stock any product that contains either aspartame or Splenda. On its Web site, Whole Foods said it has "avoided selling nonnutritive artificial sweeteners because they are not in concordance with our philosophy of promoting 'real' food."

Like Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble is rolling out a new version of a popular product without dumping the old one. But the approach being taken by P&G is much more risky because of the way the company is positioning its new Coldwater Tide.
©2005 San Francisco Chronicle

Posted on May 23, 2005 in Splenda Toxicity | Link To This Entry | Comments (4)


Posted by: Vicki Snyder on July 4, 2005 3:55 PM

Hey! I knew it--I had a strong hunch about Splenda, gives me the same strange affects as aspartame does.. I've had quite a few medical conditions over the past few years, but the worst has been the last year. They've been random and most unusual, and my doctor and I could not quite figure out what was happening. I also have the gene for HD, and am in the very early stages of it, I have been going thru some horrible symptoms that just seemed much too intense and unusual, again, for the early stage of the disease that I'm in. I recently read about this aspartame toxicity, and upon seeing the symptoms, realized I had huge number of them! As you can imagine, I am shocked to see that HD, MS, ALS, and many other neurological illnesses, were causing people to be misdiagnosed to such an extent! I'm very angry as well, and spreading the word with everybody.
I believe strongly this has exacerbated my HD, doe to the many diet cokes and vitamins I've had for many years. I have taken the first step of removing the vitamins, and all diet products from my life. In the span of one week, I am feeling healthier than I've ever felt before! Normal!! My insomnia is gone, I feel joy instead of anxiety, no more brain fog--I remember everything now. I'm breathing better than ever too, my vision's improved! Most importantly, my HD symptoms are, actually quite mild, as it should be this early on.
I feel as tho I began the damage very early on in my life, because this is truly the first time I've ever felt so energized, clear-headed, and healthy, with such happiness in my heart! Thank you for helping me see what's really going on, and helping so many people feel the absolute relief and joy that I'm feeling right now!! I plan to keep learning, and spreading the word on this horrible product, and work on making my diet as healthy as I can! Thank you again..
Vicki Snyder


Posted by: Eric on October 16, 2005 5:15 PM

We have a black-out here in the UK on some of the information regarding Splenda, as they are contemplating using it in the schools. When I first saw the headlines about the reintroduction of cookery classes in our schools, I thought it sounded like a good idea. I then discovered that it was being sponsored by Tate and Lyle, the Splenda people. Why are they so keen to keep us in the dark about being sued? They certainly must think that they have something to hide. It will be interesting to see if the case makes it into the British newspapers.


Posted by: Janet Hull on November 9, 2005 12:48 PM

The UK is a hot spot at the moment concerning Splenda because Tate & Lyle (the creators of sucralose found in Splenda) is located in the UK, and the British laws leave the individual consumer and the local media prey to litigation by the big corporations. Two British newspapers have recently published articles concerning Splenda, and Tate & Lyle has threatened to sue both papers if they did not publish a retraction (written by T&L) within 24 hours of notice. The sad thing about this is the media was accurate in the facts they reported about Splenda. The large corps have millions of dollars to lose if the truth about these products is made public.


Posted by: nitya on January 7, 2006 2:27 AM

I want to know if cutting off splenda totally all of a sudden can cause any side effects or some thing like withdrawl symptoms .Any feedback.


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