Monday, August 21, 2006

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
Calories 0
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.


Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for the heads up. I definetly want to try this and will keep an eye out.

8/21/2006 7:34 PM  
Blogger p-bird said...

I don't prefer Splenda sweetened sodas! I don't know anyone who does. That's probably why companies don't make them, Jimmie.

8/21/2006 8:56 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

So, Barb, are you saying you LIKE the aspartame ones BETTER than the Splenda ones? Is so, then why? I'm truly interested in knowing. THANKS!

8/21/2006 9:14 PM  
Blogger Kent said...

I know I can only cook with one of them, which in the big scheme of things is probably the best thing I can do with either.

8/21/2006 11:21 PM  
Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...


I have found now that aspartame drinks will give me a debilitating headache.

This never used to happen!
Maybe it's just a build up of that toxic aspartame over the years?

Unfortunately for Australians 99.99% of sugar free drinks contain aspartame.

8/22/2006 1:59 AM  
Blogger Invisible Blogger said...

fortunately, the formula for water remains aspartame and splenda free!

8/22/2006 7:23 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

And I still drink 1 1/2-2 gallons of water per day with my diet soda, IB. :D

8/22/2006 8:45 AM  
Blogger Julie Pascoe said...

Hi Jimmy,
Have you ever tried Soda Club products. Go to o check it out. The diet sodas are all splenda based. I'm particularly fond of the diet root beer, ginger ale, and tonic, but they are all good. Great for the environment too as the bottles are reusable. I've been using these products for many years and love them.

8/22/2006 9:03 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS, Julie! Those look just like the Waist Watchers products, but unfortunately these niche products a VERY hard to find locally. I appreciate your comments!

8/22/2006 10:00 AM  
Blogger low carb tennis guy said...

They still sell Diet Coke with Splenda in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and I love it.

8/22/2006 10:31 AM  
Blogger Grumblebee said...

Hi Jimmie- I personally dont have an issue with aspartame, but I know a lot of people are sensitive to it. Have you tried the Jones Soda line of sodas? They are really, really tasty and come in lots of flavours. (and all are 0 carbs and contain no aspartame)

My favourite is the sugar free cream soda - yum!

8/22/2006 10:34 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for your comments, but again, grumblebee, it's a niche product and hard to find locally. :(

8/22/2006 10:48 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey LCTG, I noticed my local grocery store stocks a "few" DC w/Splenda, but you can't find it in 2-liter bottles or in six-packs. When it's just in the 12-pack like it is now, that means it is on the way out. :(

8/22/2006 10:49 AM  
Blogger low carb tennis guy said...

12-packs are what I like. Here's to hoping you're wrong (just this once).

8/22/2006 12:42 PM  
Blogger mckie2 said...

As much as I prefer using Splenda in tea, cereal and cooking I must admit I did not like Diet Coke w/Splenda. I wish I could find a good diet soda w/Splenda but have not as yet. Doesn't look like anything new is coming along for us.

8/22/2006 2:04 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

You know, it is very interesting trying to come to grips with what is or isn't a regional product. Cheerwine, for instance. I think I heard of it once, but have never seen it. Jones Soda on the other hand, I can get absolutely anywhere in Massachusetts.

I used to love a splenda/ace k fruit soda by Polar called Clear and Natural, now gone. Waist Watchers is universally available up here, and fairly tasty (but sadly uncaffeinated!)

Pepsi Jazz is pretty cloying, like all the sweetnesss of Pepsi PLUS the sweetness of fruit on top!

In my perfect world, Coke Zero (THE best tasting diet soda, bar none) would be Sucralose/Ace K sweetened, but I don't forsee that happening any time soon.

I didn't care for Diet Coke with Splenda, as it used the same flavoring as diet Coke (based on the flop "New Coke" of the 1980's). Coke Zero uses the flavor-style of "Classic Coke" which is far superior.

Even so, I am saddened to see my low-carb brethren lose yet another option from their culinary arsenal.

Keep keeping it real, Jimmy!

8/22/2006 2:47 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I never even realized the Coke w/Splenda tasted like "New Coke," Mister Tut. I LOVE IT! I'll have to pay close attention to that the next time I drink it.

As for Coke Zero, I like the "Coke Classic" taste it has, too, but just thinking about the aspartame repulses me when I drink it. I agree, Coke Zero would be MY choice for diet soda if it were sweetened with Splenda/ACE-K!

8/22/2006 3:13 PM  
Blogger Carlton said...

>>So, Barb, are you saying you LIKE the aspartame ones BETTER than the Splenda ones? Is so, then why? I'm truly interested in knowing. THANKS!


I'm saying that I like aspartame diet soda BETTER than Splenda soda. WHY? Because it taste better to me. Splenda has a funny taste that I don't enjoy, aspartame is very sweet, doesn't taste funny to me, and doesn't give me any side effects. It doesn't seem to affect my low carb lifestyle, except to satisfy me with sweet things that have no carbs.

That's the best answer I can give you, I can't explain WHY aspartame taste better to me than Splenda, its just a matter of taste.

You are the first and only person I've ever heard say they prefer Splenda based on TASTE. I know many people who believe aspartame is bad, or gives them side effects, so they use Splenda. But I don't know anyone personally who thinks Splenda tastes better.

I do hope the soda companies give us all as many choices as possible, but in the end, it's just a diet soda. :-)

If I can't find one I like, I could live a long and happy life with water and tea.

8/22/2006 6:35 PM  
Blogger BillyHW said...

Here in Canada (Toronto), I haven't been able to find *any* Splenda-based pop. *Everything* is Aspartame + Ace-K. At least there's less Aspartame now that they are putting the Ace-K in 'em.

There are however many Splenda-based iced tea drinks and flavoured waters. In fact just today I found an awesome Diet Arizona Blueberry Green Tea with Splenda at the 7-11. Unfortunately I think they contain caffeine, which I try to avoid when possible.

You can also always just brew your own decaf tea, add Splenda and chill it overnight.

8/23/2006 12:37 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I noticed I never updated. Just wanted to let you know that Pepsi Jazz gets a thumbs-up from me. I don't care for the Black Cherry Vanilla (Coke has a better tasting one) or the new Carmel Cream (no carmel flavor), but the Strawberries and Cream is out of this world! I buy a case whenever I can find the 12 oz. cans.

Oh, and I came across Splenda sweetened Diet Coke today. They had several cases, but I take the bus so I could only carry one. I guess they are still clearing out their storerooms.

3/20/2007 8:27 PM  
Blogger Bonnilass said...

Okay...came across this forum and to be honest...I HA-A-A-A-TE Splenda products. I'm diabetic and I'm forced to use the diet products. Splenda in soda reminds me of TAB--it's disgusting. Aspartame is wonderful if we have to choose...thank God for choices.

5/11/2007 2:08 AM  

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