In an effort to reverse course on the largest steady decline of a soda product in the Coca-Cola catalog, the soda giant has announced plans to update Diet Coke in hopes of preventing further losses for the soft drink giant.
According to the Atlantic, sales of soda, including diet soft drinks, peaked in the mid-2000s. Numerous efforts were made by public health advocacy groups and organizations to urge Americans, particularly children, to consume fewer sweetened beverages in efforts to prevent the onset of obesity and type-2 diabetes — still at epidemic levels throughout the U.S. Diet soda, it appears, was not immune to those efforts, as sales have dropped dramatically in the same time period. Fortune reports the soda giant saw a six percent decline in Diet Coke sales in just the last quarter of 2017.
At its peak, Americans were consuming nearly half a liter of soda per day, but those numbers a decade later have dropped by close to 50 percent and are expected to continue to drop as consumers opt for water or healthier and value-added beverages like fermented kombucha or kefir.
Coca-Cola’s announcement last week revealed slimmer cans reminiscent of Red Bull and fruit-flavored versions of Diet Coke in what seems to be a clear effort to capture Millennials and their interest in the growing fruit-infused sparkling water trend made popular by category leader La Croix.
“Millennials are now thirstier than ever for adventures and new experiences, and we want to be right by their side,” Rafael Acevedo, the group director for Diet Coke in North America, said in a statement. “We’re making the brand more relatable and more authentic.”
But the makeover doesn’t address growing consumer concerns over the safety of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, which the company hasn’t removed from Diet Coke yet. While the Internet is full of claims that aspartame, in particular, has been linked to numerous health issues including cancer, the American Cancer Society says no studies have found conclusive evidence to validate those claims.
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