Summer's coming, and so is swimsuit weather. These days, people who want to lose a good 10 to 15 pounds fast tend to jump on the low-carb diet bandwagon. Soda purveyors have, of course, taken note.
For a while, it seemed PepsiCo
Coke shareholders are probably relieved that the company isn't being left in the dust. However, this news that Coke will indeed manage a similarly timed launch of its reduced-carb soda makes me wonder about several things. First of all, what's with the C2 moniker? Summer -- and launch time -- is almost here and there isn't a better name than that?
Although there is the argument that creating a wishy-washy soda cannibalizes the existing diet soda market, I disagree. I think there are two sides of the spectrum and there are camps of people who can't tolerate either extreme. To some people, regular soft drinks may taste good but they're loaded with sugar and calories, and, granted, the diet soda on the market right now isn't for everybody. (Personally, I know plenty of people who don't believe that diet sodas taste the least bit unpleasant and they do avoid their high-calorie counterparts, myself included.)
Coke's product will apparently contain a veritable cocktail of all the sweeteners that could possibly grace a carbonated beverage. That's high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame (NutraSweet), acesulfam K, and sucralose (otherwise known as Atkins' favorite sweetener, Splenda).
Pepsi Edge, on the other hand, contains high-fructose corn syrup and sucralose. And, in my humble opinion, ditching the aspartame is likely a good idea. It could, in fact, kill two birds with one stone, given Splenda's popularity compared to NutraSweet.
After all, there's an increasingly vocal group of people who claim the brain-rotting dangers of NutraSweet. For those people who choose to avoid NutraSweet, there isn't much of an alternative in low-calorie beverages. Tab is retro but gets its sweetness (if you can call it that) from saccharin, another no-no from 20 or 30 years past (though apparently there are still loyalists out there who find Tab "ab fab").
Coke's "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink" approach to sweetening its middle-of-the-road soft drink sounds like its downfall; it is the worst of all worlds for consumers who really are paying attention. However, maybe there's method to the madness and a really great-tasting drink. Comparing the two this summer will be the real test -- the taste test, that is.