As consumers shy away from artificial sugar substitutes, companies large and small have been searching for naturally sweet alternatives. Stevia has been a go-to sugar substitution for a while now, with sales expected to reach USD $409 million by 2016, according to Zenith International.
PepsiCo is the latest brand, and certainly one of the biggest, to take a chance on the sweet leaf. Pepsi’s new Pepsi True cola advertises 40 percent fewer calories than the original drink. Originally launched on Amazon in October 2014, the beverage is now available in stores in Denver, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. in 12-ounce glass bottles and 10-ounce cans. Not in one of those cities? You can still head to Amazon for the mini 7-ouncers.
The move comes on the heels of the release of Coke’s mid-calorie answer, Coca-Cola Life. The stevia cola debuted in select U.S. cities in August 2014, and expanded nationwide in November. Interestingly enough, the 60-calorie, 8-ounce bottle was first available internationally in Argentina, Chile and the United Kingdom.
Perhaps less surprising is the companies’ similar “green" labeling. I’m anxious to see if consumers drink it up.