“Cancer? Who cares about cancer? We want our old Diet Pepsi back, dang it.” Apparently that’s what consumers have been yelling at PepsiCo since they changed the sweetener used in their main calorie-free beverage last August from aspartame to Splenda.
And what a fickle crowd of consumers PepsiCo has had to deal with. Senior Vice President Seth Kaufman said last year that aspartame — and its possible link to cancer — was the “number one thing” Pepsi customers had been calling about.
But the change didn’t seem to make Diet Pepsi drinkers any happier: according to Consumerist, PepsiCo received over 3,000 complaints about the switch, as opposed to around 300 compliments. Sales of the beverage plummeted accordingly.
So Pepsi’s changing it up again. “Consumers want choice in diet colas, so we’re refreshing our U.S. lineup to provide three options that meet differing needs and taste preferences,” PepsiCo told the LA Times.
That’s right, three options. Diet Pepsi will actually stay the same, so if you’re a member of the camp that’s unhappy about the change to Splenda, that’s the one you want to give up. Pepsi MAX will be reintroduced this fall under the new name Pepsi Zero Sugar, and a new sweetener: aspartame! The third option for Diet Pepsi elitists will be Diet Pepsi Classic Sweetener Blend, which will also contain aspartame and somehow be different from the two previous versions of Diet Pepsi.
So now there’s something for everyone. Er, everyone who thinks they’re doing their bodies a favor by drinking diet soda instead of the real sugar/HFCS stuff. Now go out and buy yourself a Pepsi, because that’s just what they want from you.