Review: SANS Natural Diet Soda


Update 6/4/12: Following up on our SANS Natural Diet Soda reviews from October 2011, a new flavor has been added: SANS Ginger Ale. Additionally, SANS Orange has been discontinued, and the entire product lineup has been given a new design.


Original Story 10/12/11: While the Big 3 in the soft drink business (Coke, 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 at the flavor lineup from Zevia, but today it’s all about SANS Natural Diet Soda.

SANS Soda

Don’t ask me why the name is capitalized. It’s not an acronym for anything, so for the sake of this review, we’ll be using “Sans” instead of kowtowing to marketing hype.

Sans is a product of the New Perfection Beverage Company, which just happens to be a division of Big Red. The name seems to be inspired by the French term “sans” which translates to “without,” obviously referring to the lack of sugar/HFCS used in the drink.

Right off the bat, I’m attracted to the very clean packaging design. Lots of white space, with a good use of accent colors to denote flavor, supporting the “without” concept. Excellent use of fonts and style. Thumbs up to the design team!

The entire Sans lineup uses Truvia as their stevia-derived sweetener. This version was developed as part of a joint project between The Coca-Cola Company and Cargill. Coke has used it in Sprite Green. The company goes out of their way to point out that Sans contains “zero calories, zero artificial sweeteners, zero artificial colors or flavors, and zero genetically modified organisms, but unlike current stevia sodas on the market, Sans Soda contains no erythritol.”

Currently, there are 5 flavors in the Sans lineup: Cola, Orange, Lemon Lime, Black Cherry, and Root Beer. Here’s our quick thoughts on each flavor.

Sans Cola

SANS Cola

SANS Cola

Sans Cola starts out with the right color, scent, and initial flavor that you’d associate with a cola flavor. After that, you are greeted by quite a bitter taste at the back of your mouth, continuing on to the aftertaste. Colas are hard to do in diet form, especially when you break away from the established leaders in the field. Sans Cola reflects that.

Sans Cola ingredients
Triple filtered carbonated water, caramel color, tartaric acid, rebiana (natural sweetener), natural flavors, natural caffeine, citric acid and gum acacia

A 12 oz. can contains 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, and 1 g carbs (0 g sugars). Caffeine content is relatively low at 2.91 mg/oz.

Sans Orange

SANS Orange

SANS Orange

Curiously, Sans Orange is not orange in color, but mostly clear with a slight cloudy look. I actually like the subtle orange flavor, which contrasts the heavy, syrupy tastes you typically find in orange pop. Carbonation isn’t too overpowering, either. If you are used to full calorie beverages, than the use of stevia will be obvious in the aftertaste, which tends to stay on your tongue. Don’t hate it. Don’t love it.

Sans Orange ingredients
Triple filtered carbonated water, rebiana (natural sweetener), citric acid, natural flavors and natural colors, beta carotene

A 12 oz. can contains 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, and 1 g carbs (0 g sugars).

Sans Lemon Lime

SANS Lemon Lime

SANS Lemon Lime

Often, lemon lime drinks are the hardest to formulate when it comes to diet; there just isn’t a whole lot of flavor there to mask the sweeteners. As expected, Sans Lemon Lime is clear and has citrus scent, though it seems to be a bit medicinal as well. It’s quite carbonated as you take a sip. I’d say it is zesty, but it’s also quite artificial tasting. Probably the worst of the bunch.

Sans Lemon Lime ingredients
Triple filtered carbonated water, citric acid, rebiana (natural sweetener), natural flavors and natural colors

A 12 oz. can contains 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, and 1 g carbs (0 g sugars).

Sans Black Cherry

SANS Black Cherry

SANS Black Cherry

For some reason, black cherry tends to translate pretty well in the diet realm. Such is the case with Sans Black Cherry, which does a nice job of producing a robust flavor that masks much of the bitter aftertaste you tend to get with stevia combinations. The drink itself is a light red color, translucent. Probably my favorite of the Sans flavors!

Sans Black Cherry ingredients
Triple filtered carbonated water, citric acid, rebiana (natural sweetener), natural flavors and natural colors

A 12 oz. can contains 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, and 1 g carbs (0 g sugars).

Sans Root Beer

SANS Root Beer

SANS Root Beer

This root beer has a great scent; not too sweet, but just right. The beverage itself is colored light brown. Initial sippage produces a good root beer flavor, but then it’s hampered by the sweetener. If you are used to diet root beers, you probably won’t have a problem. However, if you are a root beer fan looking to cut calories, this might not be your cup of tea.

Sans Root Beer ingredients
Triple filtered carbonated water, caramel color, rebiana (natural sweetener), natural flavors, citric acid and gum acacia

A 12 oz. can contains 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, and 1 g carbs (0 g sugars).

So there’s a look at the 5 flavors. If I were to sort them in order of preference, I’d start with Black Cherry, the follow that up with Root Beer, Orange, Cola, and Lemon Lime.

My first love is not diet soda, I will admit. However, I am impressed with some of the flavor combinations offered here with Sans, namely the Black Cherry and Root Beer entries. For those looking for a no calorie option without the use of our typical array of artificial sweeteners, this stevia alternative is worth exploring and diving into! I hope we see more alternatives like this in the marketplace soon. Given the shift away from unhealthy drinks, it may be the only growth the carbonated soft drink world may experience for a while.

Official Website: SansSoda.com

Full Disclosure: These beverages were provided compliments of Big Red