A South African shrub not only has the potential to revolutionize the soft drink sweetening industry, derivatives are already in production. Both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are working with partners to get stevia-based drinks on the shelves before year’s end. Soft drink sales have been losing ground to alternatives perceived to be healthier options, The stevia-based sweeteners will be natural, as opposed to other artificial sweeteners on the market, while lacking the caloric content of real sugar. Coca-Cola will be using their version in juice offerings and in a new version of Sprite; PepsiCo will be using it in SoBe drinks and a lite version of Tropicana orange juice.
RBR/TVBR observation: We’d be on the lookout for a major marketing effort as these two giants try to simultaneously battle third-party companies and one another.