Coke, Pepsi introduce drinks with Stevia-based artificial sweetener


Update: Don't miss our coverage of other Stevia-sweetened beverages:


Original Story 1/1/09: The latest diet beverage war has begun with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration granting approval for use of a new artificial sweetener in soft drinks. Based on the stevia plant found in South America, rebaudioside A (also known as Reb-A) is the key ingredient in two new sweeteners being used by both Coke and Pepsi in new products.

First off is Sprite Green from Coke, which uses the Truvia brand of sweetener, the consumer name for Rebiana, which is the Reb-A version offered by a joint project between The Coca-Cola Company and Cargill.

Rolling out first in New York and Chicago, Sprite Green is a reduced calorie version of Sprite, the most recent line extension since the rebranding of Diet Sprite to Sprite Zero and the trio of short-term Remix flavored drinks (Sprite Remix Tropical, Sprite Remix Berryclear, Sprite Remix Aruba Jam). Per Coke's press release about the new drink, Sprite Green "has 50 calories per 8.5-ounce serving and 5% lemon juice. Sprite Green was created to appeal to active young adults and will be launched in two U.S. cities this month in distinctive 8.5-ounce aluminum bottles. Initial availability will be limited to teen and young adult-oriented locations and events with a broader rollout planned for early 2009. Sprite Green complements the Sprite brand’s leading lemon-lime and zero-calorie lemon-lime sparkling beverages."

On the flipside, Pepsi is rolling out Zero Calorie versions of SoBe LifeWater in 3 flavors: Yumberry Pomegranate, Fuji Apple Pear, and Black and Blue Berry. These drinks use the PureVia brand of the Reb-A sweetener, created by Whole Earth Sweetener Company and used by Pepsi.

Pepsi's press release notes that "in addition to a full day's supply of Vitamin C, each bottle of zero-calorie SoBe Lifewater also provides 20% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin E as well as 10% of the recommended daily value of Vitamins B6, B12, Niacin (B3) and Pantothenic Acid (B5.) Each also will be infused with a unique blend of herbal ingredients." The SoBe products are going to be available nationally.

Like the abundance of Splenda-based products that came out years ago, the introduction of Stevia-based sweeteners to the marketplace is bound to prompt a new wave of drinks or at the very least, reforumalations of existing diet beverages. Right now, the hot combo seems to be Aspartame/Acesulfame potassium (as used in Coca-Cola Zero). Sucralose as a stand-alone sweetener got some press when Coke rolled out Diet Coke Sweetened with Splenda back in 2005, but other than its comob use as Sucralose/Ace-K in Diet Rite, hasn't really been the "silver bullet" sweetener like Aspartame/Ace-K has been.

One wonders what's going to happen with these Stevia-based drinks… or beyond that, if the public is going to be utterly confused by the zillion names associated with this new product (i.e. Stevia, rebaudioside A, Reb-A, Truvia, PureVia, etc.)

It's going to be an interesting year in beverages!

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Comments

  1. As with Nutrasweet, I can't drink anything with stevia for extended periods (like one can a day for 7 days). I end up in a foggy state of mind. Antihistimines also do this.

    Its funny because other fake sugars or sweeteners don't cause problems.

    Stevia is a better sweetener than any other because its just an herb (although there may be something in the processing of it – turning it from brown to white – that will make it just as bad as the fake sugars).

  2. I think the title of this piece may be a little misleading since as far as I am aware these new stevia based sweeteners being used by Coke and Pepsi (Truvia and PureVia) are natural sweeteners as opposed to being new artificial sweeteners. The 'natural' factor is their whole differentiating proposition and why there seems to be such a buzz around them at present.

  3. Good article and image captures. Why are you describing Reb A as artificial? It is a naturally extracted molecule ( glycoside ) from the Stevia plant in the same way that gingko extract is extracted from the gingko leaf. This is the whole point. The color change is because the extract is a clear liquid ( like water ) and then powderized naturally. There will detailed coverage available within in the next few weeks of the extraction process and its social benefits. Coke and Pepsi wouldn't have invested major resources in another artificial sweetener just because it started life as a plant. Sucralose starts life as pharma grade sugar ( which is itself and extract ) . The difference is that Reb A remains clean, natural and safe. Enjoy!

  4. I won't knowingly drink or eat anything with aspartame or splenda… this is exciting to me… I'll be waiting to try the new Stevia sweetened cola! I've never cared much for sprite and 7-up…too sweet to me. But I think I'll try this one at least once! I have always held that diet drinks were bad for you in the long run…. Hurry up with that Cola!!!!

  5. There is another good Stevia product on the market called Stevia Extract in the Raw. It is a great alternative to Truvia and Purevia becasue it is cheaper and contains no sugar alcohols.

  6. Just gave it a try this morning. Hopefully it will not give me a headache like Nutrasweet and Sucralose.

  7. Just because it's "natural" doesn't make it better. Cocaine and most insectisides are 'natural' too. It's how it effects the body through scientific tests is all that's important – not where/how it is produced.

  8. I love the new Sprite Green bottle design. I think I am going to start a bottle collection haha.
    Great post Steve!

  9. I agree with Jim and posted something similar in the recent post on this topic.

  10. Since Stevia came out, I've been getting stabbing pains in the back of my throat. I don't know if anyone else has had that problem, but it goes away or dissipates the less I drink coke and pepsi products. I guess I'm going to just have to go to straight juice, and that will have to excluse anything minute maid or the like, because those are doing the same thing.

    No to mention the fact that this newly approved sweetener destroys the carbonation in any drink I've had and in general….just tastes off if not terrible. Looks like I won't be drinking pop anymore and neither will my husband. The only thing he thinks it hasn't had a strong effect on is Mr. Pibb.

  11. There is a certain percentage of the population who are fructose intolerant. For those (and I am included), many sugars and high-fructose corn syrup in particular cause extreme discomfort, bloating, stomach pain and other physical ailments. Suralose is one of the substances which causes these symptoms.

    For many others, sugars contribute to weight gain, hyper-activity, or other undesirable conditions. The use of Stevia, or stevia extracts in drinks is a true blessing. Most of us enjoy drinking refreshing, sweet drinks, but we have to leave them alone if they cause us distress or ill-health.

    I am grateful to any company which provides me with these alternatives.

  12. Has anyone bothered to research Water kefir (Tibicos) as an alternative to coke or pepsi? You can brew your own probiotic drinks, they are carbonated, and good for you.
    My mom was sick from something she ate last night so I gave her some of my drink. She felt so much better and ate breakfast and then we went shopping.
    Really, no one has to continue to support those that have given you battery acid cleaners for drinks.
    I'm going back to nature and real foods from the earth. Stevia has been one of my staple items in my pantry for years now, since before those companies put it in their drinks. I hope my letters to the FDA were considere when they finally approved it because I sure gave them a piece of my mind about all the poison they gave us with Splenda, NutraSweet, and so on.

    I hope 2010 brings you all true health for the future.

  13. OK. "Stevia Based Artificial Sweetener" is an oxymoron. Stevia is a natural sweetener. What has been refined from the plant is the actual compound that makes it sweet. Thus, the sweetener is still natural. For spoonability, this compound is combined with bulkers such as inulin or maltodextrin, which are also natural. What Coca Cola and Pepsi would be adding to their soft drinks would be just the sweetener.

    For those of you squawking about stevia giving you reactions: Think about it. It's a natural sweetener. Anybody can be allergic to anything. If they pulled foods and things off the shelves, simply because someone is allergic to it, we wouldn't have much to eat. I'm allergic to some tropical fruits. Do I go galivanting around with my torch and pitchfork, demanding they take them off the market? NO! Others have the right to enjoy the things I'm allergic to. I just read labels. If you think stevia is the only thing that is listed under several different names, think again. For example; papaya, one of my allergies, is also called papain on the labels of certain meat tenderizers.

    My point is, don't try to kill something because YOU don't like it or are allergic to it. Educate yourselves, read labels and let the rest of us enjoy it while you avoid it.

  14. I am glad I found your website on stumbleupon. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my friend were just preparing to do some research about this. I am very glad to see such great info being shared freely out there.
    Best wishes,
    Alder from Albuquerque city

  15. Chris Fryer says:

    If you want to try stevia sweetened soft drinks – there already is one: "Zevia." (www.zevia.com). They have cola, lemon-lime, root beer, black cherry and ginger ale. All sweetened with stevia. The cola even has about the same caffeine level for you Diet Coke junkies. It tastes more like Diet Rite than Diet Coke but at least it doesn't have Nutrasweet and has a little caffeine if that's what you seek.

  16. So…I am really sensitive to the taste of artificial sweeteners, and avoid them at all costs. They leave such a bitter aftertaste. Diet sodas with Splenda, Nutrisweet, etc. are just gross to me. I am reading alot of reviews about this new sweetener from people that are used to drinking diet sodas. But my question is: Would it actually taste alright to those of us who normally drink regular colas and juices? Is there an aftertaste, or is it actually pretty good? I am almost afraid to try it because once I get that bitter aftertaste, I have it with me all day long! Thx.

  17. Stevia does not have a bitter aftertaste, it has a slight aftertaste, but its not bitter, and depending on what its in berly notacable. there are some really good stevia based drinks I have had, including zevia, and this sparkling green tea drink called Stez, zero cal. both really good

  18. There is absolutely no reason to add any chemicals to Stevia, other than to placate the corporations that are probably freaking out because they fear their chemical-based products currently being used in products (these are neurotoxins) will falter in need/usage-this would be a good thing for humans, and bad for corporations that don't give a rip about your body, only the bottom line $$$. Stevia itself is plant based, all natural and a little goes a long way, tastewise and economically. Better to take responsibility for your health and use Stevia in your homemade lemonade than to drink any artificial sweetner. You only have one body.

  19. Guess what else is all natural? Cyanide. Go have some.

  20. Ummm Stevia is natural. This story reads like it is an artificial sweetener. Please Please do your homework before writing a story.

  21. Well, here's the problem: Eyrthritol, is always the first ingredient in these new "Stevia" formulas that have been made by these companies. Eyrthritol, is NOT from Stevia and has many sides effects. People are trying this "Stevia" product for the first time and complaining because of the side effects it has. However, if you were to try natural Stevia extract by itself, you wouldn't have these side effects.

    These companies take an extract from Stevia and "Design" it so that they can patent it, and then they add the Eyrthritol to it. Stevia has been used for thousands of years and by many countries and cultures around the word, they don't have problems with it. Do some research and you will see. By the way, I've used Stevia for years with no side effects. However, the first time I tried one of these "NEW" Stevia Sodas, I felt sick and had a headache for the rest of the day.

  22. Ed Curtis says:

    I have paralyzed feet as a result of diabetes and drinking lots of diet drinks with aspartame. I now use stevia in my tea. Zevia (zevia.com) has a line of drinks out with stevia, but they are a dollar a can. Japan has been using stevia in their drinks for decades, and never had any problems until apartame was placed in them. Now the incidents of brain tumors and nerve damage has skyrocketed.

  23. Ed Curtis says:

    Thanks Mike J, I heard the same thing but could not recall the name of the poison they put in it. I will research these new drinks and if it has Eyrthritol in it, I will reject it and they will not get a dime of my money. By the way, shame on the American Diabetes Association for endorsing NutraSweet.

  24. Dangers of ErythritolWikimedia Commons Erythritol is a sugar alcohol similar to xylitol. Just like other sugar alcohols, erythritol is known to cause problems with the digestive tract. Although not particularly dangerous, over-consumption of erythritol can lead to a number of uncomfortable symptoms. Usually found mixed in foods, it is difficult for consumers to purchase erythritol as a sweetener for use in beverages and cooking.

    Read more: Dangers of Erythritol | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5012916_dangers-of-erythritol.html#ixzz14vHXDscq

  25. Thanks to those who pointed out that is the Erythritol and not the stevia that causes problems. I have used stevia for years with 0 problems, but when I purchased SoBe Lifewater and other commercial Zevia drinks, I got spacey. I cannot use xylitol either; after chewing gum with it in it, I started coughing. When I spit it out, I stopped coughing. I have stopped using anything with Erythritol in it but trying to find an alternative with just stevia. Do they HAVE to put other sweetenrs in them, or is it just cheaper? If so, you can't tell by their price!

  26. Good health rap says:

    I wouldn't worry ~too much about the processing. yes, cocaine is processed coca leaves but stevia has a LONG-standing good record of use in both South America and Japan (cocaine obviously does not). There are supposedly no records of an adverse reaction to Stevia, but there are plenty for aspartam.

  27. crystals says:

    If you don't want to use sugar alcohols there is a stevia/sugar mix 5 calories only per serving…sun crystals.

  28. walter17 says:

    i swear natural sierra mist has stevia in it. i use to drink 7-up but now they've put the harmful chemical preservatives back in.

    stevia tastes weird. i really don't like the taste.

  29. Yes, stevia tastes weird to me also. Like…an artificial sweetener.

  30. Truelemon I have found to be awesome. It is sweetened with stevia. If you go to http://www.truelemon.com you can find where they sell it or buy it online. It is usually at walmart. It comes in packets to put in your waterbottle like crystal lite (but crystal lite has aspartame and other sweeteners). It is worth a try. I love it and I know I have a lot less issues with stomach pains and bloating than when I used to drink diet pop and crystal lite with aspartame.

  31. SweetToothTommy says:

    True Stevia is not an artificial sweetener made up of random chemicals in a lab, unlike most sugar substitutes. The title of this article is therefore a bit misleading. It's a plant-derived, natural sweetener. I can't verify if other crap is added to it or not, but it's possible to harness it naturally.

  32. SweetToothTommy says:

    @Jim: True, but sugar and apples are also natural. I'd rather eat a sweet nectar/sap (probably the most analogous things to stevia sweetener) from a plant than an artificial sweetener they discovered on accident whilst trying to make other chemicals (then just shoved down our throats). On the bright side, most stevia sweeteners are shown to not raise blood glucose levels. It's also very widely used in japan, china and south america. The EU banned it, but they ban anything that's not water, air and dirt.

  33. Stevia Fan says:

    I have been using Stevia for more than 5 years. I have been waiting for a soda company to start using it. Stevia is all natural and is good for you. HaRa for more healthy alternatives.

  34. Do your research people – Stevia is all natural and is not classified as an artificial sweetener. Some brands like Truevia have additives. Buy Sweaf Leaf brand all natural stevia. No side affects, great taste and pure stevia extract. Why are more companies not using this product. I can grow it in my backyard so why are they instead adding products manufactured in a lab like splenda and aspartame? Strong lobbyists I suspect.

  35. "Coke, Pepsi introduce drinks with Stevia-based artificial sweetener"! Why do you say "artificial sweetener"?

  36. I am excited to actually get my hands on some of the soda sweetened with stevia/truvia. I have the double whammy of being diabetic and getting migraines from artificial sweeteners. Stevia and Truvia do not give me headaches. I bake with it and use it to sweeten tea without issue. We don't have any whole food stores locally so I guess I will do some research to see if I can order on line.

  37. Mara Grace says:

    @ Bette from August 22, 2010 at 12:50 am – Cyanide is "natural" as far as it is contained in plant matter like cassava/tapioca; however there is no such thing as a cyanide plant (nor an arsenic plant) as there is like a stevia plant. With stevia, the whole plant is safe for consumption. Which is not to say there may not ultimately be some ramifications (that we may discover down the line) of extracting Reb-A from the stevia plant. Undoubtedly the whole food (preferably minimally or gently processed) form of food and herbs are best. I don't think anyone's disproven that one yet. From the perspective of someone's who's studied biochemical nutrition for 2 decades. :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] To receive approval, Cargill’s independent panel evaluated the identity, method of manufacture, product specifications and potential exposure resulting from the intended use of the sweetener, as well as published and unpublished studies on rebaudioside A and related substances. Read More: World Tea News – FDA Approves Cargill's Stevia Sweetener Based on the stevia plant found in South America, rebaudioside A (also known as Reb-A) is the key ingredient in two new sweeteners being used by both Coke and Pepsi in new products. First off is Sprite Green from Coke, which uses the … Read More: BevReview.com » Blog Archive » Coming Soon: Coke, Pepsi introduce … [...]

  2. [...] recently posted a news item here at BevReview.com about a new Stevia-based sweetener being used in beverages: Coke, Pepsi introduce drinks with Stevia-based artificial [...]

  3. [...] acesulfame potassium weren't exactly natural. This could be an opportunity for Pepsi to rollout a stevia-sweetened beverage, given that Pepsi uses the PureVia brand with Sobe Lifewater that markets itself as a [...]

  4. [...] Pepsi, Dr Pepper Snapple) have been tentative in rolling out a stevia-sweetened beverage that's a core part of their lineup, we've seen some smaller companies go "all in" with the natural sweetener. We've previously looked [...]

  5. [...] check out the new “green” diet pepsi and coke drinks which are sweetened with Truvia® or PureVia™, the new combination natural sweetener products. [...]

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