Until last October it was pretty rare to see me without a Diet Pepsi in my hand. I was a deeply devoted fan of the stuff, and had been for many years, ever since my days working third shift in dorms and through many years of overtime hours in a terrible, boring office job.
Then last fall Pepsi Co. decided to discontinue the use of aspartame in many of its products, including Diet Pepsi due to declining sales that Pepsi Co. thought were due to people’s fears about aspartame’s safety. Those fears are completely unfounded but that doesn’t stop people from believing things. They replaced the sweetener with sucralose, a newer artificial sweetener.
I was upset about this largely because changing my favorite product over unscientific nonsense is incredibly frustrating. I tried the new Diet Pepsi anyway, hoping to get over my frustration and still enjoy it. Unfortunately the newer Diet Pepsi tastes like disappointment and betrayal. I sadly gave it up, turning to iced tea and Diet Coke with a dejected sigh.
It turned out I wasn’t the only one who thought the change was an abomination. It didn’t take long for many other customers to object. The decline in sales of Pepsi Co.’s diet products has accelerated in the past year, rather than recovering as they’d hoped. This makes sense – no one wants to drink something that tastes like the end of all comfort and joy.
Today I got the news that Diet Pepsi with aspartame is coming back, though it won’t be the primary option so I may need to go out of my way to stock up. I find it a little annoying that they called me an “older consumer” but I guess anyone over 30 is old if you’re a junk food executive.
I’m thrilled by the return of my beloved beverage and my friends will be relieved that they don’t need to listen to me rant about it anymore.