Pepsico, Inc. (NYSE:PEP) is in the process of changing the sweetener in Diet Pepsi as part of a major re-branding effort aimed at revitalizing the company’s flagship soft drink.
The material change to the beverage is pretty minor. In addition to its traditional sweetener, Pepsico is adding a small amount of acesulfame potassium to Diet Pepsi, which is reportedly supposed to help the soda maintain its freshness without changing its taste. The current formula is sensitive to heat and flavor breaks down over time.
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It’s unclear if the change in chemistry will lure discerning customers away from competing beverages or not. The change is just one facet of a broader campaign to breathe life into the soft drink, which has lost some face in recent years. Between 2007 and 2011, Pepsi fell from the number two soft drink spot to number three, replaced by The Coca-Cola Company’s (NYSE:KO) Diet Coke. Coke Classic remains number one.
Over the same period, Diet Pepsi fell from number five to number seven on the list. Backed by a re-branding campaign, stabilizing the flavor of the drink could help stabilize sales…