Diet Pepsi Brings Back Aspartame
Less than a year after PepsiCo removed aspartame from Diet Pepsi, the company is bringing back the controversial artificial sweetener. The Wall Street Journal reported that Diet Pepsi’s 2015 switch to sucralose only exacerbated the brand’s already sliding sales, with one anonymous Pepsi bottler telling the publication “they made a mistake taking aspartame out because it doesn’t taste as good.”
PepsiCo told the Journal that the reintroduction of aspartame came out of “consumers [wanting] choice in diet colas,” and that both formulations of Diet Pepsi will now be carried in stores, beginning in September.
The story likened the decision to remove aspartame, which reportedly came out of two years of consumer research, to other PepsiCo “marketing blunders”, including a 2009 Tropicana logo redesign and a failed attempt at using biodegradable packaging for Frito-Lay brand Sun Chips.
Fortune has explored Sheryl O’Loughlin’s more than 25 years in food and beverage, from her early days at Kraft and Quaker Oats, to becoming CEO of Clif Bar, to founding Plum Organics, to her latest gig as CEO of adaptogen-powered beverage brand REBBL. O’Loughlin told the magazine her return to the entrepreneurial grind — REBBL has a staff of six with annual sales of less than $10 million — was inspired by the brand’s commitment to sustainability and putting an end to human trafficking.
“This is a company based on purpose,” O’Loughlin said. “If we just have financial results than none of the rest of this matters, and to me this is not a success. Our bottom line is having this impact on the planet.”
Coke’s Response to Vermont’s GMO-Labeling Laws
The state of Vermont’s GMO-labeling laws — which went into effect today — may see the Coca-Cola Company pull some of its products from shelves. Coca-Cola spokesman Ben Sheidler tells Bloomberg that “to avoid multiple labeling changes, some lower-volume brands and packages we offer within our broad portfolio could be temporarily unavailable in Vermont.” Sheidler indicated that the company’s top-selling brands – Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, among others – will remain on shelves.
The Vermont Senate passed the law in 2014, becoming the first U.S. state to require labeling of food and beverages made with GMOs.
Weekend Warrior Weiler
Drinkmaple co-founder Kate Weiler was recently featured in ESPNW’s “Weekend Warriors” column, in which the 33-year-old Massachusetts native discussed how her involvement in a 2013 Ironman triathlon in Mont Tremblant, Canada led to her discovery of maple water. Upon her return home Weiler, and co-founder Jeff Rose, were on the hunt for more maple water for its naturally hydrating properties. Their realization that no such product existed stateside would become the impetus behind the launch of Drinkmaple, which launched in 2014 and can now be found in more than 3,500 stores nationwide.
HuffPo Ranks Cold Brew Coffees
The Huffington Post has published a list of “Cold Brew Coffees You Should Be Drinking This Summer,” ranking nine brands in order from “really good to downright phenomenal.” Earning the top nod was Oakland, Calif.-based Blue Bottle, which senior editor Julie Thomson said “nails what summer iced coffee is all about.” Also featured in the roundup was Kohana Cold Brew, Anchorhead, Barefoot Coffee Roasters, Jittery John’s, Seaworth Single Fin Sludge, Slingshot, Red Thread, and Lucky Jack, a brand backed by fitness celebrity Jillian Michaels.