Review: Sprite Select (Version 1)

Editor’s Note: Since this review was authored, a second test version of Sprite Select was discovered.  Thus, for clarification purposes, BevReview refers to the beverage in this review as Sprite Select (Version 1) while the newer tested beverage is Sprite Select (Version 2).

Back in May, we wrote about Coke’s testing of two Stevia-sweetened beverages, Sprite Select & Fanta Select, that were being test marketed in Atlanta, Detroit, Louisville, and Memphis. Thanks to BevReview reader Bob Manning of Troy, MI, we now have a can of Sprite Select to review!

Sprite Select

Sprite Select

Being a Coke product, it uses Truvia-branded stevia sweetener, much like Sprite Green or Sprite’s stevia launch in France. However, it also contains sugar (that’s what it says in the ingredients: “Sugar” — don’t know what type). In the end, what we have is Coke’s version of Pepsi Next, in that Sprite Select is a mid-calorie beverage with 70 calories per can. Unlike Next — which uses 4 different types of sweeteners including HFCS, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose — Select sticks to the “Stevia + Sugar” model — denoted by the “Naturally Sweetened” branding on the can.

From a design perspective, the can is white with light green dots in the background, anchored by a surprisingly small Sprite logo with the word “Select” underneath. Tagline is “full flavor, half calories,” and also notes that it contains “50% fewer calories than regular Sprite.”

Cracking open the can, you are greeted with the expected lemon-lime scent of Sprite. The drink is clear and has a good dose of carbonation. Initial sipping produces a very clean start, in some ways sharper and more full of flavor than regular Sprite (which tends to be a bit syrupy due to the high fructose corn syrup). The flavor then transitions a bit to slight bitterness, but it’s still quite good. You aren’t washed away in bad sweetener aftertaste like you’d find with Sprite Zero.

The finish on Sprite Select is excellent. It’s not without the Stevia bitterness often found in these types of drinks, but it’s quite reduced and far more palatable. Just like Pepsi Next, the drink starts out strong, with a parallel flavor to its full-calorie sibling, and only then transitions into something your mouth knows is using alternative sweeteners. As lemon lime drinks go, it’s more flavorful and tasty than full-stevia-sweetened product lines, such as Zevia and Sans. It also tastes much better than Coke’s last lemon lime stevia hybrid, Sprite Green. They’ve greatly improved the level of bitterness in Sprite Select.

When attempting to explain Pepsi Next’s confusing market positioning in our review of that product, we noted, “perhaps a simpler selling point would have been to create a product using stevia as part of the blend… At least then it would have been simple to explain. Pepsi taste. Fewer calories. All natural sweeteners. Done.” It would appear that Coke has done just that with their Select line.

I would definitely seek this out as a lower-calorie alternative. Nice job, Coke!

Sprite Select
Carbonated water, sugar, erythritol, natural flavors, citric acid, malic acid, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate (to protect taste), stevia leaf extract

A 12 oz can contains 70 calories, 70 mg sodium, and 24 g carbs (17 g sugars). Caffeine free.

Thanks again to Bob for providing this can of Sprite Select to review. BevReview readers are awesome!