Diet Pepsi Jazz Has Little Low-Carb Pizzazz
Diet Pepsi Jazz is the latest calorie-free, carb-free cola to hit the market
I was at the gym on Sunday working out on the elliptical machine at the YMCA while watching Tiger Woods demolish the competition at the PGA Championship en route to his unbelieveable 12th major victory title at the age of 30 when I noticed a slew of new television commercials from Pepsi about this new product they have called Jazz.
It's a cute ad with a woman carrying a nifty-looking Diet Pepsi Jazz bottle in her hand while beebopping around town taking in the sights and sounds of what is happening around her. Of course, it's all interpreted with creative jazz music mimicking the sound of a car horn blowing, a baby crying, a jackhammer drilling, and people talking. The unique marketing concept for this brand new soda definitely screamed exciting, different and fun, but what about this Diet Pepsi Jazz product makes it so special?
That's what I decided to find out. I went out to the store looking for Diet Pepsi Jazz to make my own determination about it. I noticed very quickly it was going to be difficult to find right now, which is something I've never understood about companies heavily promoting a product that the stores don't fully stock yet. Anywho, I went to five different stores and only ONE of them had both the Strawberries & Cream and Black Cherry French Vanilla flavors of Diet Pepsi Jazz in stock. Sigh.
Of course, the first thing I did as I do with any new food or beverage product is look at the nutritional label:
Serving Size 8 fl. oz
Total Fats (g) 0
Sodium (mg) 25
Total Carbohydrates (g) 0
Sugars (g) 0
Protein (g) 0
Caffeine (mg) 25
EXCELLENT! Lots of ZEROS for calories and carbs is a VERY good thing. Okay, so what's it made of and sweetened with?
Contains: Carbonated water, caramel color, natural & artificial flavors, phosphoric acid, aspartame, potassium benzoate (preserves freshness), citric acid, potassium citrate, caffeine, acesulfame potassium
UGH! Not ANOTHER aspartame/ACE-K-sweetened diet soft drink? What is wrong with these soda companies pushing all this aspartame on us? Don't they know that most diet soda drinkers, especially those of us who are livin' la vida low-carb, prefer the Splenda-sweetened versions better? Apparently not since they are discontinuing our favorites just as we are getting used to them.
At one time, I really thought Coca-Cola and Pepsi executives were finally starting to get it, but now it appears they have regressed with their choice of sweeteners for Diet Pepsi Jazz. Like the heavily-marketed Coke Zero which also contains an aspartame/ACE-K blend, Pepsi is banking on the pleasant sweetness of this new beverage they have created to attract new customers.
While it is true the ACE-K does make the aspartame more tolerable to the tastebuds, most people I know who love drinking diet soda would rather have the ACE-K mixed with Splenda instead. Right now, the options for an ACE-K/Splenda mix are very limited: Pepsi One, Diet Rite, and Diet Cheerwine are the main ones with a few off brands like Waist Watchers available here and there.
Why couldn't Diet Pepsi Jazz have been made with Splenda? To me, this is a blatant disregard by Pepsi to meet the specific wants and desires of their customer base by snubbing our preference for Splenda over aspartame. Why should low-carbers support a company that refuses to listen to the very customers it purports to serve? The answer is we shouldn't.
Besides, what's up with the major soda companies making all these variations on their soda line anyway? Vanilla was a bust for both Coke and Pepsi, Lime has only done moderately well, Lemon was ho-hum...wouldn't you think they would learn from the lessons of their past? I guess not since they keep pumping these new flavors out in different packaging with snazzy names like Diet Pepsi Jazz.
What about the taste of the DPJ products? Are they good?
The quick answer: Yes, they certainly taste good if you like the flavor of Strawberries & Cream (which I personally do!) and Black Cherry French Vanilla. If you enjoy the sweetness of the flavored Diet Rite and Diet Cheerwine sodas, then you will definitely be pleased with Diet Pepsi Jazz. There is no denying the taste of this product will please most customers at least once or twice, but I believe people will quickly get tired of it since, like the vanilla diet soft drinks, the fruity flavor strongly overpowers the soda flavor. When you want a diet soda, you want to drink something that tastes like soda, not fruit.
Also, what sets Diet Pepsi Jazz apart and screams BUY ME?! Okay, sure, you get a nice fruity cola with zero calories and carbs, but what else? What does the Jazz part of this product actually mean anyway other than just an interesting name to market in advertisements? Not much.
Is Diet Pepsi Jazz a long-term diet soda you will see on shelves a year from now? I predict it'll be gone by the Summer 2007. Why? For me personally, it goes back to the aspartame thing again. I won't be buying this product over and over again despite the fact it doesn't have any carbs because I don't want to consume all of that aspartame in my body. Nope, I think I'll stick primarily with Diet Rite products instead because they have Splenda plus NO caffeine.
What is the lesson in all of this for companies like Coke and Pepsi? Here's my FREE unsolicited advice to them. Take it or leave it!
Stop making boneheaded decisions about new product development and start listening to your customers for once. We don't like being served aspartame-poisoned soft drinks and overwhelmingly prefer Splenda instead. Quit ignoring our pleas for sodas with a Splenda/ACE-K blend and start paying attention who is paying your salary--YOUR FAITHFUL CUSTOMERS!
Diet Pepsi Jazz has little low-carb pizzazz. And that's just too bad.