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Predictable: Diet Coke w/Splenda Discontinued


The Coca-Cola Company set up this product to fail from the start

I knew this day was coming, but I had no idea it would happen this fast.

Last May, I blogged about how proud I was that the makers of Coke and Pepsi finally “get it” (maybe!) by introducing Splenda-flavored diet soft drinks for consumers who prefer that sweetener over the less favorable aspartame or Nutrasweet brand artificial sugar.

I even raved about Diet Coke with Splenda when it was released to the market just before Summer 2005 and said how much I enjoyed it after just one taste.

“It was just like the Coke I remembered drinking and not the nasty flavor of the aspartame-poisoned regular Diet Coke. In fact, there were a few times I felt guilty about how much I was enjoying the full flavor of this new version of Diet Coke.”

At the time, I expressed my hope that Diet Coke with Splenda would do well enough to expand into other Coke products.

“I hope it does well so they can expand it into their other flavors, such as cherry, vanilla and lime. AND hopefully they’ll make a caffeine-free version, too.”

But then it happened — the release of COKE ZERO!

Within a few weeks of releasing Diet Coke with Splenda, the Coca-Cola Company gets the brilliant idea to introduce yet ANOTHER new diet soda that oddly enough tastes almost exactly the same as Diet Coke with Splenda. Coke Zero was in fact no different from Diet Coke with Splenda except one was made was Splenda and the other with aspartame. The ingredient that made them both taste so good was ACE-K, an ingredient which enhances the sweetness of sugar substitutes.

I questioned at the time why Coke Zero was created and had my suspicions that this was a behind-the-scenes scheme by the Coca-Cola Company to insure the failure of Diet Coke with Splenda.

Here’s what I wrote in June 2005:

“Are they TRYING to kill sales of Diet Coke with Splenda by marketing another product that is coincidentally similar in nature? What better way to thumb their noses at those of us who begged for them to make a Splenda version of their soft drink? Why else would they release THIS diet soda so soon after Diet Coke with Splenda? I smell a rat and it points back to a meeting room at the headquarters of Coca-Cola.”

Of course, all the marketing dollars have since been POURED into promoting Coke Zero (and I admit I like the latest television ad that shows a Coca-Cola bottling factory where someone turns off the “calories” switch to make Coke Zero), but have you seen ANY commercials for Diet Coke with Splenda? Any at all? Me neither! The only marketing I saw was a billboard ad and that was it. You could see the handwriting on the wall about the fate of Diet Coke with Splenda many months ago!

My worst suspicions were confirmed tonight when I went to purchase some Diet Coke with Splenda at my local BI-LO grocery store as I have just about every week since it came out. I looked around the soda section and saw a new Diet Dr. Pepper Berries & Cream flavor where my Diet Coke with Splenda was usually located, but for some reason I couldn’t find it anywhere. When I inquired about where my favorite diet soda drink was, the customer service manager admitted to me that Coca-Cola discontinued that product. What? Are you serious? That must have JUST happened since I buy this product every single week and it was just there last week!

But I can’t say I’m surprised about this one bit. Coca-Cola set this product up for failure from the very beginning. While people who are livin’ la vida low-carb BEGGED Coca-Cola for the longest time to make a product with Splenda in it instead of aspartame, it seems they had an evil, maniacal plan all worked out to cause this product to crash and burn a devastating death. As you might expect, I have my own theory about why they did this, too.

Here’s what I think happened:

Coca-Cola has the #1 selling diet soft drink in the world right down with their original Diet Coke, which is sweetened with aspartame, of course. Millions upon millions of cans and bottles have been sold to consumers ever since it was released and it has been highly profitable for both Coke and the makers of aspartame.

Then a group of consumers who prefer Splenda instead of aspartame (that would be us low-carbers!) puts public pressure on soda companies to make Splenda-flavored versions of their products. To meet this need and to compete with Pepsi who introduced Pepsi One with Splenda, Coca-Cola relents and decides to offer a version of Diet Coke with Splenda.

But the makers of aspartame caught wind of this idea and didn’t like what they were hearing since Splenda is their closest competitor and gaining a lot of ground on them in recent years. Executives at the J.W. Childs company that makes Nutrasweet immediately got on the telephone with top-level bigwigs at Coke and said to them, “You had better do something about this and make these Splenda products go away if you know what’s good for you.”

Since Coca-Cola didn’t want to upset the company providing them with the artificial sweetener used in all of their diet soda products, they decided to come up with a similar product to Diet Coke with Splenda that would appeal to young people who are weight and health conscious and have it made with aspartame instead. That product was Coke Zero and was pushed into production with the ugliest product packaging in the history of manufacturing. But it had to be basic since they needed to release it very soon after Diet Coke with Splenda. Despite how stupid it made Coca-Cola look for releasing nearly identical products, they did it anyway to appease the aspartame people.

Coke assured the J.W. Childs company that they would aggressively market Coke Zero to make people quickly forget about Diet Coke with Splenda. They flooded the grocery stores and big box stores with upwards of 8 feet of floor space for Coke Zero while Diet Coke with Splenda was lucky to get 1-2 feet worth of product. The consumer never even got a chance to connect with Diet Coke with Splenda while Coke Zero dominated the airwaves and marketing pieces.

The result: Coke Zero has seen moderate success while Diet Coke with Splenda has performed less spectacular. Thus, Coca-Cola decided to discontinue Diet Coke with Splenda so they can put more of their focus on Coke Zero, to the delight of the aspartame people.

Does all of this sound about right? I think it does and it makes me sick thinking about it. What’s amazing is that some people had never even heard of Diet Coke with Splenda since it had been blacklisted in terms of marketing by Coca-Cola!

I ran into this the other day at work when I was talking with a co-worker about Diet Coke with Splenda and she said the only diet drink she can stand to drink now is Coke Zero because it tastes so much like a real Coke. That’s when I mentioned that she should try Diet Coke with Splenda and she said nothing could taste as good as Coke Zero. When I told her Diet Coke with Splenda is essentially the same product as Coke Zero except it doesn’t have the poor sugar substitute aspartame, she said she’d give it a try.

Unfortunately, she’ll never get a chance to taste this great product now no thanks to the geniuses at Coca-Cola who have basically thumbed their noses at us low-carbers by eliminating the Splenda-flavored diet so
das entirely from their product lineup. Was this the best move on Coca-Cola’s part or will there be a backlash against them for doing this?

That will be up to YOU! While we could all decide to write to the Coca-Cola company and express our dissatisfaction with their decision to stop making Diet Coke with Splenda, a better plan of action could be to boycott Coca-Cola products in favor of companies that make Splenda-flavored soft drinks instead.

Here is a list of the most popular diet sodas made with Splenda at this time:

Pepsi One
Slice One
Diet Rite
Diet Cheerwine
Sierra Mist Free
Diet 7-Up
Diet Shasta

We need to encourage PepsiCo to EXPAND their Splenda-flavored product line even further to some of their other products and take advantage of this HUGE mistake by Coca-Cola to alienate a large portion of their diet soft drink customer base by getting rid of Splenda.

Send your encouraging feedback to Pepsi by clicking here and you can also tell Coca-Cola how disappointed you are in their decision to stop making Diet Coke with Splenda by clicking here. I work in Customer Service for a large company, so I KNOW if enough people make their voice heard on this issue that a difference can be made.

Now we must take this battle to our pocketbooks and let Coca-Cola feel the pinch of a mass exodus of low-carb consumers away from Diet Coke, Diet Sprite, Diet Dr. Pepper, and more. Instead, stock up on Pepsi One, Slice One, Diet Rite, and Diet Cheerwine to THANK them for showing their solid support for Splenda-flavored diet sodas. Maybe Coca-Cola will come to their senses and bring back Splenda to their product line if they know what’s good for them.

Let me know if you hear any feedback from Coca-Cola about their decision to discontinue Diet Coke with Splenda.

  • Newbirth

    Damn! That means I *have* to drink Diet Rite now. Man, I loved Coke with Splenda!

    Argh!!!!!! Bad news for Paml Sunday! Not fair!

  • Jeff Miller

    Coke is just the worst with marketing, ever since the new Coke debacle. It seemed that Diet Coke with Splenda was on the shelves for a very short time.

    To your list you can also add Diet 7-Up and Sierra Mist Free to your list. Shasta also uses Splenda in their diet sodas.

  • Newbirth

    I e-mail Coke. I don’t like Pepsi and won’t buy it so I guess that leaves me with Diet Rite.

  • Gary

    This is a shame because if you have to use an artificial sweetener, Splenda not only tastes better, but the evidence is mounting the it’s better for you than aspartame.

  • Lowcarb_dave

    Perhaps in Australia, where I have no choice – Aspartame is in all diet softdrinks, I should boycott them both!

    Maybe I should stick with good ol H20!

    Everything I heard about MONSANTO makes me believe they are an evil American Company!

  • Newbirth

    Dave,

    Mostly I drink tea and water (and coffee in the morning). I limit my diet soda to one can per day. The rest of the time at work (which is most of the time) it’s tea and water. And water at the gym. And wine at home (blush).

  • Barb

    Coke with splenda just didn’t taste good.

  • Kelly in Southern CA

    Oh, I’m so sad! The only place I can find Diet Coke with Splenda in 20 oz. bottles for my one-a-day is at a Mobil Mini-Mart near my office, so I go there once a week. I know I should knock off the caffeine, but it’s my one indulgence. I wrote Coke a letter, as well an encouraging one to Pepsi, but I’ve never cared for Pepsi. Rats! The Mobil owner is going to miss me!

  • Mrs. Drobnis

    I heard about this last week when the Coke guy came to refill our machine and said the Diet Coke w/ Splenda was being discontinued. I told him that I wouldn’t be using the vending machine anymore without it. He told me “Don’t you know that Splenda is bad for you?” I told him, “Don’t you know aspartame is worse?” No comment.

  • flyyCurls

    I agree with Luv2bike…Diet Coke w/Splenda was some nasty stuff…It had that same cloying sweetness as the sugar free slurpees…It was undrinkable…I love Coke Zero because it tastes just like the real coca cola.

    Now, I would love if they made it with Splenda, so I will send an email about that…I just don’t drink that much pop that it makes a difference to me.

    Iced Tea is my drink.
    M

  • Science4u1959

    Sic transit gloria mundi :)

  • facts

    Though you can tell your opinion, at least get some of the facts right. Monsanto sold Nutrasweet back in 2000 to JW Childs company (http://www.nutrasweet.com/company.asp).
    Also, the development of Diet Coke with Splenda had more to do with Wal-mart than anything. Thank them. Actually, you may be able to still get it there. (http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/03/03/business/walmart.php)

  • Jimmy Moore

    THANKS for the info! I have corrected the Monsanto references with the J.W. Childs company. It’s still a shame they have forced Coke to eliminate ALL Splenda products from their product line.

  • HealthNut77

    Personally, I think the reason Coke dropped Splenda is because it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen! I wouldn’t be surprised if the FDA doesn’t remove it from the market in the near future as more truth about that product also known as sucralose is revealed to the general public. It’s chemical composition is more closely related to DDT than sugar! Dr. Mercola’s website at http://www.mercola.com and http://www.truthaboutsplenda.com are two good sources to study about the deceptive marketing on behalf of this sweetener. Perhaps the most devious is the PTO bake sales that are sold to our school systems! I have been very annoyed that sports drinks like Propel, Gatorade, Speedo Water and Fuze drinks are loaded with this stuff when people who are drinking those kind of drinks are genuinely concerned about their health. Aspartame was bad but Splenda is going to prove to be a nightmare! I hope you will visit those sites and do your due diligence research on it. I don’t think you’ll be so crazy about it after you know the facts about it. The more I watch for it, the more I see it in other products too, so be aware when a product states it has “no sugar added” but it’s sickeningly sweet. Sucralose doesn’t break down when cooking and it’s not easily purged from the body either. It also has DNA altering properties which is something I don’t want in my body at all if possible! A more healthy way to sweeten stuff is with Stevia. It’s available in health food stores and I recommend the white powdered variety. It’s something like 16 times sweeter than sugar so it takes very little and it’s safe for diabetics too. Well, I’m going to stop at that. Thanks for reading…

  • SodaGuy

    All of you who are upset about your lack of splenda sweetened softdrink options, listen up! I recently made a blog with a link to a company that makes a home soda machine. its compact, easy to use, inexpensive, and they have MANY flavors of diet products sweetened with splenda. not to mention that you can make the soda you want, WHEN you want it. http://www.sodafresh.blogspot.com . click the orange link to check out the website. I would be lost without this machine.

  • Jimmy Moore

    So, HealthNut, are you insinuating from your comments that you somehow think consuming aspartame or Nutrasweet is BETTER for you than sucralose or Splenda? Is that what you are trying to say? Hmmmm?

    Because if we use your logic that Coke was worried about being sued for using Splenda, then what do you think they are doing with Nutrasweet in their products. That stuff could kill a horse and causes MUCH MORE DAMAGE to the body than Splenda EVER will.

    I’ve heard all the alarmists with their yadda yadda yadda against Splenda, but I’m not buying it. The fact is that little substance helped me kick sugar, lost nearly 200 pounds, and feel great in the process. PERIOD!

  • mstori

    After reading the post on your blog when a friend pointed it out, I wrote to the Coca Cola Company very concerned.

    This was the response I got.

    “Diet Coke Sweetened with Splenda is available and is a brand of The Coca-Cola Company.

    Regarding availability, local bottling companies choose which brands to sell and the size of the packaging that will be available in their territories. These decisions are based on consumer demand and other market factors. We believe they are in the best position to make those decisions.

    If you would like to contact the bottling company serving your area, you may wish to contact them at the following telephone number: (800) 637-4429

    If necessary, they may refer you to a sales center for assistance.

    Your loyalty to Diet Coke Sweetened with Splenda is certainly appreciated. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to visit our website again.

    Janice
    The Coca-Cola Company
    Industry and Consumer Affairs”

    There is still Diet Coke Sweetened with Splenda at every single grocery store in my area, and plenty of it. I spoke to a store manager and he said that he has heard nothing about it being discontinued.

    Where did your original information come from? Is it possible you are just experiencing a problem with a local bottling company?

  • Jimmy Moore

    This info was provided to me directly from the Coke rep in my area who supplies DC w/Splenda to the local stores. He said Coke has stopped making it. If that’s wrong, then PTL. But all I know is they have removed it from my area. THANKS!

  • ROSIE

    I will stick to Fresca(peach) It has no sugar or caffeine and is low sodium. Tastes great for a diet soda. Didnt like diet coke with splenda!! Splenda isnt all that great for you either. It thickens the Thymus gland. Main glad that controls Hormones!!
    I think good ol H2O is the best thing at this point!!

  • Carlton

    >>Here’s what I think happened:

    Geez, what a conspiracy theory! Do you have a shread of evidence to back this up?

    Do you really think the makers of Nutrasweet could possibly have the power to push Coca-Cola around? Do you know anything about business at all?

    Do you realize that any company that wants to can make aspartame? Coca-Cola could switch at any time or even start making it themselves. They could buy a factory that already makes it and take up their own production. Do you realize the power and wealth Coca-Cola has? Any you think the makers of Nutrasweet is pushing them around?

    “What you think happened” sounds about crazy and silly. Maybe your brain is having a reaction to all that Splenda? :-)

    You know, the feds are out to get you, too.

    Take care!

  • Jimmy Moore

    Prove that it is NOT true, Carlton!

  • gridline

    This is a wild assumption at best, backed by no evidence or logic. It certainly is not the “aspartame people” driving Splenda from Coke products. There is no Aspartame Cartel folks – this is ridiculous.

    If Splenda-sweetened competitors begin grabbing marketshare, you’ll see fizzy Splenda products pourring out Coke’s —.

    btw, It is Sep. 5th 2006, and I have no problem getting Diet Coke w/ Splenda… IT IS EVERYWHERE!

    I doubt there is truth to any of this “info”.

  • Jimmy Moore

    Perhaps they changed their mind, gridline! Plus, if Coke is so hip on expanding their Splenda line, then why haven’t they done it? How about a caffeine-free Diet Coke with Splenda? How about Cherry Coke with Splenda? Hmmm? I stand by my assertion that the people who distribute aspartame have Coke and Pepsi wrapped around their fingers tightly!

  • seth

    I’m sorry you lost your favorite variety of coke. The truth about Coke Zero, however is simple. It is marketed towards men. If you think it’s foolish to have one diet beverage for women and one for men, welcome to 21st century branding. It can’t be much comfort to you, but Coke seriously was not trying to kill their own product like you claim.

  • Newbirth

    It’s several months later now and Diet Coke with Splenda is still around. I bought a case just last week and am drinking one now. Maybe just the store you shop at doesn’t sell it?

  • Jimmy Moore

    When a company like Coca-Cola discontinues a product, it could take literally a year or two to deplete the stock on hand of the product that is being cancelled. I’m sure that’s the case with Diet Coke w/Splenda.

    Yes, it is still available for purchase in 12-packs, but have you seen 2-liter bottles? 6-pack bottles? ANYTHING except for the 12-packs and maybe a 20 oz. size? Nope!

    If Coke was behind DCw/S like they are Coke Zero, then we would see all of these things and more.

    My local stores carry the obligatory 4-6 12-packs of Diet Coke w/Splenda while Coke Zero basically takes up the whole shelf!

    If they have changed their mind and decided to keep Diet Coke w/Splenda, then they should expand the line a little more and add Diet Cherry Coke w/Splenda and even Caffeine Free Diet Coke w/Splenda. That last one I would buy stock in RIGHT NOW! :D

  • Darin

    have you seen 2-liter bottles? 6-pack bottles? ANYTHING except for the 12-packs and maybe a 20 oz. size? Nope!
    Yep! It’s mid December, and still available in 2 liter bottles at my local store, plus 12 packs. Maybe other sizes too, but those are the only sizes I buy. Still listed as a current product on Coke’s website too.

    If it goes away, I’ll be disapointed, but there’s still Pepsi One, Diet Shasta, (and Diet Rite if you don’t care about caffeine).

  • Jimmy Moore

    You’re lucky then, Darin! I’ve NEVER seen the 2-liter bottle ANYWHERE and the 12-packs are scarce at the several stores I shop at. Coke is TRYING to kill it off, but perhaps there’s been enough of a surge in sales from us low-carbers that they get the message that we want it to stay. We can only hope. THANKS again for your comments!

  • Darin

    Well, I’m in Atlanta… perhaps it helps being in their “home” market?

  • insanecrzygirl

    I’m angry with Coke too. For different reasons tho. (I LOVE SUGAR!) I’ve been mad since they stopped making SURGE! I think when they stop making a cola they should give out the recipes so die hard fans won’t go crazy and start crying when the taste something similar, like Vault. Vault is an evil tease… It’s like Splenda to Sugar to me…. very disappointing. (anything with splenda in it makes me crave sugar uncontrollably even if I don’t know it’s made with spenda.)

  • Tony

    PLEASE BRING BACK DIET COKE WITH SPLENDA, SPLENDA !!!

    • http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com Jimmy Moore

      They still sell it. Ask your store manager.