(NaturalNews) After decades of popularity, diet soda sales have been on a decline for the past five years, losing around 6.8% in sales by the end of 2013. Buyers have spent 7.8% less on lemon- and lime-flavored drinks and 7.2% less on diet cola. To prevent further decline, the $61 billion a year industry is considering replacing artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharine with stevia. However, as the trend toward eating more naturally increases in popularity, a lot of consumers report that concerns over the chemicals that diet drinks contain led them to switch to water or go with juicing instead.
A shift in habits
When meeting the company's investors in October, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi noted that there has been "a fundamental shift in consumer habits and behaviors." She also said the decrease in popularity of diet drinks has been happening faster than the company initially expected.
Industry analysts report that the declining trend was already seen 10 years ago but has become more rapid in the last few years because of the increasing number of health-conscious consumers. Analyst Hester Jeon of IBISWorld published a study on soda use at the end of last year. She says that the drop in diet soda sales can be partially attributed to the growing concerns around processed artificial sweeteners.
In the last couple of years, many consumers became aware of the fact that a lot of their citrus-flavored soda drinks have a flame retardant known as brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in them. Beverage companies use BVO to weigh down the citrus flavor and prevent it from floating to the drink's surface. Other harmful ingredients you'll find in many diet drinks include aspartame, phosphoric acid, artificial caffeine, acesulfame potassium and potassium benzoate, to name a few.
Industry to respond with new drinks
Nooyi said her company was planning to respond to changing consumer habits with a line of new products this year. "They don't mind some calories, but they want natural sweeteners," she said.
About the author: A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well.