PepsiCo to Use Sweetmyx Flavor Enhancer in Mug Root Beer, Manzanita Sol

Mug Root BeerA much heralded flavor enhancer called Sweetmyx is set to make its debut in two PepsiCo-owned soda brands. Senomyx, a flavor supplier that manufactures Sweetmyx, today announced that a concentrated version of the ingredient, one designed to enhance the flavor profile of foods and beverages made with reduced calories and sugar, will be used in Manzanita Sol nationally and in Mug Root Beer in two U.S. test markets.

The announcement comes amid sustained declines in sales consumption of soda and other highly sweetened drinks. A recent survey conducted by market polling firm Gallup found that 6 in 10 Americans are actively avoiding soda, most citing high calorie and sugar content in the beverages.

PepsiCo first entered into a partnership with Senomyx in 2010 with an aim of “discovery, development and commercialization of sweet enhancers and natural high-potency sweeteners.” At the time, Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo’s chief scientific officer, said that “the real challenge is to create products that not only are healthier but also taste great, and Senomyx has unique technologies that will allow us to improve the nutritional profile of our products without sacrificing taste.”

manzanita-sol-apple“We’re very optimistic that this collaboration will help us achieve our commitment to reduce added sugar per serving by 25% in key brands in key markets over the next decade and ultimately help people around the world live healthier lives,” said Khan, who has since added the role of vice chairman of PepsiCo to his responsibilities.

PepsiCo has the exclusive rights for use of Sweetmyx products in beverages, including Sweetmyx 617, a variety that Senomyx claims “boosts the sweet taste of foods and beverages in which fructose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and/or sugar have been reduced.”

It’s unknown exactly how PepsiCo will reformulate Mug and Manzanita Sol, an apple flavored soda, with the addition of Sweetmyx. At press time, the company has yet to respond to a request for comment.

PepsiCo has made significant efforts to address growing backlash against ingredients that have in recent years fallen out of favor with many consumers. The company recently removed aspartame from its Diet Pepsi soda (the drink continues to be sweetened with sucralose and  acesulfame potassium) and has increased distribution of its “Made With Real Sugar” soda beverages, which are formulated without high fructose corn syrup.