With sales slipping, PepsiCo announced that it will no longer sweeten Diet Pepsi with aspartame.
Starting in August, Diet Pepsi’s new formula will use sucralose and ace-K instead of aspartame, which some people believe is linked to cancer. Seth Kaufman, senior vice president of Pepsi and flavors, told USA Today that the change wasn’t due to questions about the safety of aspartame — he said it is perfectly safe for consumption — but what customers said they wanted. “To Diet Pepsi consumers, removing aspartame is their No. 1 concern,” he said. “We’re listening to consumers. It’s what they want.”
The new formula tastes exactly the same as the old one, PepsiCo said, and will be used to make all Diet Pepsi flavors, like Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi. When Diet Pepsi was introduced in 1964, saccharin was used as its sweetener, and in 1983 it was reformulated with aspartame. In 2013, the company began to use aspartame and ace-K. Don’t get too excited about ace-K, though, Michael Jacobson, director of the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, warns. “Consumers should avoid [ace-K] as well,” he said. “It is poorly tested, but the tests done by the manufacturer in the 1970s suggest that ace-K, too, might pose a cancer risk.” Catherine Garcia