Coca Cola and PepsiCo have long been looking to reduce the amount of calories in their sodas without sacrificing the taste. Both have started using sweeteners extracted from the Stevia plant that grows in South America. But they have started using these no calorie sweeteners on the smaller brands – not the big name sodas.
Coca Cola is now starting to produce Sprite and Nestea with Truvia (the name of the sweetener) and sugar. This reduces the calorie and sugar content by thirty percent.
Spokeswoman for Coca Cola, Crystal Warwell Walker, said that these new lower calorie beverages will be available in France as early as next week, and on sale in cafes, vending machines and grocery stores. There was no information given on whether we can expect to see similar products here in the USA.
France recently instituted a tax on sugared drinks – an idea that has been discussed in the US lately – but the Coca Cola spokesperson has said that this was not the impetus behind the decision to use sweeteners to lower sugar and calorie content. This move was to meet consumer’s wishes – “This is completely about variety and choice”.
The EU (European Union) had banned stevia but recently overturned that ban, and has allowed its use since last year.
Truvia was developed by Coca Cola and Cargill Inc, getting FDA approval in 2008. Coke has added Truvia since then to many of of its products, in seven countries. PepsiCo uses PureVia, a stevia based sweetener manufactured by Merisant Co.
In the US, the top selling artificial sweetener is Splenda, followed by Truvia.
Do you use sweeteners instead of sugar in your cooking, or tea or coffee? Would you be more inclined to buy soda if you know it uses Stevia rather than sugar?