NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

November 28, 2012

Diet soda market adding exotic flavors

It’s been 60 years since diet soda first burst on the scene with a sugar-free ginger ale known as No-Cal that catered to diabetics. Then came RC Cola’s Diet Rite, followed by Tab, Fresca and a slew of sugar-free versions of Pepsi and Coca-Cola that seem to be in perpetual states of reformulation to accommodate customers’ fickle tastes.

Today, it isn’t just colas that are going on a diet.

The market for no-calorie sodas has become as effervescent as the beverages themselves, with an ever-expanding palette of exotic flavors such as coconut, pomegranate and coffee — many of them from small companies that are developing loyal followings catering to customers’ thirst for carbonated indulgence without the sugar.

“We’d all love to drive a Ferrari if it had the fuel consumption of a Prius, but you can’t have it all. What we’ve found with our product is that it gets the fuel consumption of a Prius and maybe drives like a BMW,” said Paddy Spence, chief executive of Zevia, a brand of stevia-sweetened sodas based in Culver City, Calif.

Zevia is one of the only carbonated drink companies to use the natural, no-calorie sweetener derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, which is generally recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use as a sweetener in foods. Stevia is more commonly used in non-carbonated beverages, such as Sobe Life Water and Vitamin Water.

Most diet sodas are artificially sweetened with aspartame (better known as Equal), acesulfame potassium (also known as Ace-K) or sucralose (branded as Splenda) — sometimes in combination.

All of them are artificial sweeteners produced using chemical processes that are regulated by the FDA as food additives. All of them offer more concentrated levels of sweetness than ordinary table sugar without the calories.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Special Features