We’ve talked quite a bit about beverage brands adding stevia to their product as a ‘natural sweetener.’ For those not familiar, this type of sweetener is extracted from the stevia plant, an herb from South America, and has a higher level of sweetening ability than sugar, while also providing a low-calorie alternative.
Zevia and Sans have built their product lines on the sweetener. Name brands like Jones Soda and Starbucks have started to roll out products as well. And while Pepsi has affiliated with PureVia and Coke has adopted Truvia with some of their niche products, we’ve yet to see one of the “big brands” make the move.
Coke experimented with a sugar/stevia mix when they did a limited launch of Sprite Green here in the United States a few years back. Now it looks like stevia is the sweetener of choice for Sprite… but only in France.
As recently reported in The Wall Street Journal, both Sprite and Nestea will use a sugar/stevia sweetener combo, though it’s noted that “Coke’s change follows the recent adoption in France of a tax on sugared beverages.” Of course, Coke denies that this is the reason for the change. “This is completely about variety and choice,” they say. Stevia wasn’t approved for use in food/drink by the European Union until late 2011.
The move in France is interesting because while stevia has historically been offered in products that were a diet option of their flagship brand, in this case it actually is sweetening the flagship Sprite.
Image via Coca-Cola-France.fr