Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Dr Pepper Trying 60-Calorie Soda Pop Sweetened With Sugar, Stevia

By Associated Press – Feb 12, 2014 at 2:35PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The sodas would be sweetened with sugar and stevia, rather than the artificial sweeteners used in traditional diet sodas or the high-fructose corn syrup used in most regular soda.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Americans are cutting back on both regular soda and diet soda. So Dr Pepper is testing something in between, with natural sweeteners.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group said Wednesday that it plans to test versions of its Dr Pepper, 7Up and Canada Dry sodas this year that have about 60 calories a can with only naturally derived sweeteners. That's less than half the 150 calories in a can of regular Dr Pepper, but more than the 0 calories in the diet version.

The sodas would be sweetened with sugar and stevia, rather than the artificial sweeteners used in traditional diet sodas or the high-fructose corn syrup used in most regular soda.

The beverage industry is trying to figure out ways to stop a years-long decline in U.S. soda consumption.

In particular, companies including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are worried about a recent acceleration in the decline of diet sodas. Executives blame the pullback on people's concerns about artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame. More broadly, the soda makers are trying to address an ongoing movement away from ingredients people feel aren't natural.

On Wednesday, the company reported a quarterly decline in sales volume, but its profit beat expectations with the help of higher prices and cost improvements.

Dr Pepper declined to provide details about its upcoming test. But it would be just its latest attempt at tinkering with its soda.

In 2011, the company also introduced its "Dr Pepper Ten," which it said had just enough high-fructose corn syrup to overcome the taste of the artificial sweeteners that some people don't like. Dr Pepper stressed that it would continue to focus on its Ten lineup in the year ahead, which also includes 7Up and Sunkist varieties.

In the meantime, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are also looking at making versions of their flagship sodas that use natural sweeteners. But the bitter aftertaste of options such as stevia has been a roadblock. As a result, stevia is often used in conjunction with other sweeteners such as sugar to balance out the taste. Last year, Coca-Cola rolled out its "Coca-Cola Life" with those two sweeteners in Argentina.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have also tried mid-calorie drinks in the past, although they weren't with natural sweeteners. In 2001, Coke rolled out "C2" and Pepsi in 2004 introduced its "Pepsi Edge." Both were taken off the market because of poor sales. PepsiCo gave the concept another try more recently with its "Pepsi Next," which is still on shelves.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group said it would work with select national retailers to test the sodas.

The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 11/30/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.