Friday, March 23, 2007

Will You Try Vitamin-Infused Diet Coke Plus?

Get ready for the brand new Diet Coke Plus coming in April 2007

The "healthy diet soda" wars continue on with the upcoming release of the brand new Diet Coke Plus™ coming to a store shelf near you in April. With nationwide distribution set for next month, The Coca-Cola Company is excited to provide their very first calorie-free, carbohydrate-free soda product that has been infused with vitamins and minerals.

According to the nutritional label, Diet Coke Plus includes 25% of the recommended daily allowance of niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 as well as 15% of the RDA for magnesium and zinc in each 12-ounce serving. It is sweetened with an aspartame/ACE-K blend that has become the industry norm for just about every diet drink nowadays.

Attempting to get a leg up on their primary competition--Pepsi-Cola North America--as that company is set to release their own diet "energy" drink called Diet Pepsi MAX in June 2007, Coca-Cola North America is seeking to provide their loyal consumer base with a diet soda product that will serve as a supplement to their healthy diet, according to Coke's senior VP Katie Bayne.

“Consumers, including Diet Coke drinkers, are increasingly looking for more beverage options, and we wanted to offer them the convenience of a calorie-free beverage that is a good source of several essential vitamins and minerals, and one that delivers on the great taste that they have come to expect from us,” she said.

This is the second such "energy" drink that will be released in 2007 by the #1 beverage company in the world. In January 2007, the Coca-Cola Company in conjunction with Nestle launched Enviga, aka "The Calorie Burner," under a cloud of controversy from some who believe the product is misleading to consumers. But many people have been curious about the product likely BECAUSE of the criticism which is why Enviga spokesman Ray Crockett reports in this news story that it is "doing very well."

I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to try the new Diet Coke Plus today when the media press kit arrived at my door this morning. The packaging for this product is top-notch as we have come to expect from the folks at Coke. It's includes the famliar Diet Coke logo along with a multi-colored "Plus" with the wording "Diet Coke with vitamins & minerals" listed on the product.

Here's the packaging for the 20-ounce bottle, 12-ounce can, and 12-pack:

I really didn't know what to expect when I went to taste this new Diet Coke Plus. I just assumed it would taste like all the other new aspartame/ACE-K drinks that have come out over the past year or so including Diet Pepsi Jazz and Coke Zero. Boy was I wrong!

When I took my first swig from the 20-ounce bottle, I noticed a somewhat recognizable (but not in a good way!) taste I hadn't had in my mouth in a while--REGULAR Diet Coke! EWWWW! I'm so used to drinking my FAVORITE Diet Coke product--that would be Diet Coke with Splenda--that this Diet Coke Plus was not nearly as sweet as I have grown accustomed to.

Nevertheless, after that initial shock to my tastebuds, I put it back in the fridge for a few hours and tried it again to discover that although it wasn't nearly as sweet as say Coke Zero or Diet Coke with Splenda, it is certainly a little bit sweeter than a regular Diet Coke. I'd have to say that the creators of this new drink have hit a pretty happy medium between the aspartame-only and the aspartame/ACE-K blend versions that fans of both should enjoy Diet Coke Plus.

Even still, whenever a new version of Diet Coke comes out the diehard lovers of the original version worry that their beloved drink is changing formulas. Not to worry, loyal fans of regular Diet Coke who do not want the ACE-K! The Coca-Cola Company learned their lesson about messing with a formulation (remember New Coke from the 1980s?), so you can rest assured your favorite diet soda is not gonna change one bit.

“The millions of current Diet Coke devotees across America shouldn’t be concerned – America’s #1 diet sparkling beverage is staying just as it is,” Bayne added.

Diet Coke Plus is the next in an ever-growing line of Diet Coke products on the market today, including original Diet Coke, Caffeine Free Diet Coke, Diet Coke with Lime, Diet Cherry Coke, and Diet Coke with Splenda (which I'll explain in a moment why it is still hanging around despite the fact it was supposed to be discontinued in 2006).

You will begin seeing advertising for Diet Coke Plus in the near future with the slogan "Great Taste Has Its Benefits." They want to push the fact that this Diet Coke product has several essential vitamins and minerals while giving people the familiar taste of Diet Coke they have grown accustomed to. It's an intriguing concept that will certainly capture the attention of a public looking to live healthier. We'll have to wait and see if that can translate into positive sales numbers.

Personally, I like the idea of having a vitamin-infused diet soda. Heck, if you're gonna drink diet soda (and I AM!), then why wouldn't you want to add some vitamins and minerals to the mix to make it even better? Drinking just four 12-ounce cans of Diet Coke Plus daily will provide you with 100% of the RDA of vitamin B in your diet. Now that's just cool!

I had the opportunity to speak briefly with Coca-Cola North America spokeswoman Susan McDermott today about a few concerns from the low-carb community regarding her company. On the issue of aspartame use, she said they have conducted field marketing tests and the aspartame/ACE-K blend has been preferred by consumers as well as universally accepted across the industry as the blend for sweetening diet drinks. Fair enough.

When I stated that many of my readers would prefer a Splenda/ACE-K blend instead, McDermott insisted that aspartame is the most tested artificial sweetener in history and has been found to be completely safe by the Food & Drug Administration. While I acknowledged her point, I did express that my readers would like to have some more Splenda-sweetened options available as well. She said there are no new Diet Coke products in the works for the rest of 2007, but to not give up hope for the products you desire in the future. I guess we'll just have to be patient for now. :)

Speaking of Splenda, I asked McDermott specifically about Diet Coke with Splenda and what the availability of this product was like in 2007 since it was set to be discontinued last year. She said the product tends to sell great in certain regions and not at all in others, but it is still available for purchase. With so many different Coke products available today, local stores will only stock what they think they can sell. So if you want it and it isn't available in your area, then let the manager of your favorite grocery or retail store know. I was assured it IS available!

I'm so glad they took the feedback from so many of my readers last year after all and decided to keep Diet Coke with Splenda around for a little while longer just for us. Awww, wasn't that just so nice of them? :) Now if we can only get them to make Diet Cherry Coke with Splenda (and maybe caffeine-free), I'll be one happy camper!

Feel free to send your comments and feedback to The Coca-Cola Company regarding what you think about their product line by clicking here.

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Blogger Unknown said...

On a related topic, Jimmy, quite a while back, maybe a year or more, 7-up came out with several great-tasting varieties of their diet 7-up, and all were sweetened with Splenda. Although I do not drink a lot of diet sodas, it was nice to have a mainstream brand, available virtually everywhere, that was not sweetened with the deadly apartame. I made a point of purchasing one whenever I was out and about. It was a pleasant treat for me, and it would, I hope, encourage the manufacturers to produce more such products. I happened to be in a convenience store the other day, and went to the cooler to grab a cold 20 oz diet 7-up, and noticed the splenda logo was missing from the label. I read the ingredients list, and sure enough, there was the toxic apartame, rearing its ugly head. I was very disappointed. I had hoped that the new line of Diet 7-UP had signalled a sea-change, and that Splenda would gradually replace apartame as the sweetener of choice. It looks like I'm back to searching for more obscure brands like Diet Rite, and Diet RC for my occasional soft drink fix. As always, I refuse to buy any product tainted with the most tested poison of all time, which has been declared completely safe by the FDA,(a wholly owned subsidiary of big pharma.) Ben

3/24/2007 5:19 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

We are definitely fighting an uphill battle, Ben. The soda manufacturers are only concerned about taste which translates into sales amongst a public that does not realize nastytame has some awful properties.

When I spoke with the Coke spokeswoman about people having concerns, she said those are all lies and unfounded (I think the line "where are the dead corpses in the street" came up at one point).

It's not that this stuff will necessarily KILL you, but I have personally had bad headaches and seen my weight loss stall from consuming nastytame.

If people love it, then I guess the market forces rule the roost. But I suppose we should be happy they provide ONE Splenda-sweetened drink from each of the major companies:

Diet Coke with Splenda
Pepsi One

Yes, the others are obscure, but they do have Splenda in them, too:

Diet Rite
Diet Cheerwine
Some local store brands
Regional brands (Waist Watchers, etc.)

The only thing those of us who LOVE our Splenda-sweetened sodas can do is to keep on buying them and wiping out the stock at our local stores so they get the message.


3/24/2007 10:13 AM  
Blogger JeriD said...

I finally got my pre-diabetic daughter to try Diet Coke with Splenda last week. She loves it! She is willing to switch to it full time (vs. interspersing her Coke Zero/Regular Diet Coke with regular Coke at home). Unfortunately, you can't find it in restaurants so she "treats" herself to a regular fountain coke when out and about. At least she will drink DCWS the majority of the time.

3/24/2007 1:29 PM  
Blogger Tom Bunnell said...

Stimulants and Stardom (The effects of Stimulants on our Mind and Star-Struck Individuals) Stimulants: Sugar-Carbohydrates-Alcohol-Caffeine-Cocaine-Amphetamines-Methamphetamine-Splenda

3/25/2007 10:57 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Looking forward to this new Diet Coke product!!!! Thanks for the heads-up, Jimmy :)

3/25/2007 12:26 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

I left some comments on the Coca-Cola website. Now if we all do that, they might pay some attention. But it remains an uphill battle...

3/25/2007 11:35 PM  
Blogger Kevin M. said...

Diet cola with vitamins - gross!!! But I guess I'll have to try it. Let's see how badly they try to bastardize or lip-service the "vitamin" part. If they can make it healthy and taste good too, then its a bona-fide scientific breakthrough!

3/26/2007 12:17 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

That explains why I can still occationally find the Diet Coke with Splenda at my grocery store. I do buy it whenever I find it.

3/26/2007 3:14 PM  
Blogger Amy Dungan said...

I may give this a try when it's available in my area, just to see what it's like.

My favorite drink is Dite Rite and I've been fortunate enough to have found it everywhere we've lived so far. But if you could peek in at my kitchen you'd think otherwise. My kitchen is decorated in Coca-cola memorabilla (new and old). But I rarely drink diet coke. LOL

3/27/2007 8:17 PM  
Blogger lcreekmo said...

I'm a huge fan of Diet Coke with Splenda. I have no trouble finding it here in Nashville, often at the grocery and always at Target.

I quit consuming aspartame about 10 years ago when I determined it was a trigger for my seizures. Knock on wood, I haven't had a seizure in years, and now I will get a fountain Diet Coke when I'm out, but I'm nervous to have more than one or two a week.

There's a part of me that's still not comfortable with artificial sweeteners, but good grief, how could they be worse than high-fructose corn syrup???

Thanks for all your great info, Jimmy.

3/27/2007 10:08 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Diet Hansen's is also made with Splenda. It's a slightly higher end soda and a bit more pricey, but comes in tons of great flavors.

3/28/2007 8:52 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I would write to Cola Cola, but every time I write a company about a product I love, I never see it again. It's like I curse the product by writing to the company. The last time I did that was Carb Smart ice cream, and now I can no longer buy it! No more Rock Road ice cream for me! (wails)

3/28/2007 8:55 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

CarbSmart ice cream is STILL widely available in all the flavors in my area, Victoria, so it must be a regional thing. I love the Rocky Road flavor, too, and there's about 15 half gallon things of it in my local grocery store and at Wal-mart.

3/28/2007 9:50 PM  
Blogger Bridget Unnel said...

I have a bottle of it sitting on my desk. At first blush, it tastes the same. What I can do without is the subtle after-something that makes the roof of my mouth feel odd.

Given a choice, I'd vote to bring back Diet Coke with Lemon. I have yet to walk into a restaurant, order a Diet Coke and have the waiter ask, "whould you like vitamins and minerals with that?" It's always "lemon" or, to a lesser degree, "lime." There's a reason for that, folks.

4/24/2007 12:54 PM  
Blogger Chris Walker said...

This is definitely a trend... There is a line of sugar-free mints drops from Germany called IQ Elements that are fortified with essential vitamins and other nutrients... Each flavor has a different nutrient (Cherry Mint has Acerola vitamin C, Lemon-Green Tea Mint has real Green Tea extract and choline, the Pure Mint has Creatine, and the Orange Mint has Ginger extract)... I've tried them, and now I'm hooked... The problem is, they are hard to find. I've only seen them in NYC and DC in gourmet food markets...
But it seems that the vitamins and sugar-free formula is catching on...

4/29/2007 7:48 PM  

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