UPDATED: Coca-Cola is reformulating some Vitaminwater products following negative feedback from fans about its new sweetening system (stevia + cane sugar), according to a statement on the brand's website.
In the short statement (click HERE ), which doesn't mention the word stevia, the Coca-Cola-owned brand says: "The fans have spoken. we’re changing back to the taste you know and love.
"We tinkered with the taste of Vitaminwater and our fans haven’t had the greatest things to say about it. So we’re changing back to the taste you know and love... This process will take some time but we'll move as quickly as we can."
Coca-Cola - which acquired the VitaminWater range in 2007 through its acquisition of Energy Brands (Glaceau) - introduced the new formulations, which combine stevia and cane sugar, in May, but quickly faced a backlash on Facebook, where fans complained about the new taste.
It added: "Our first production facility will be up and running in August. The Vitaminwater you loved will start appearing back on shelves this fall and be available across the country by the winter."
Previously, Coca-Cola sweetened Vitaminwater - sales of which were down well before it switched to the stevia-sweetened formula - with a mix of cane sugar and crystalline fructose.
Vitaminwater: This isn't about stevia...
Commenting on the move, a Vitaminwater spokesperson said that the move was less about stevia than the fact that fans of Vitaminwater were attached to the original formula.
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola remains committed to stevia, and is still using it in the Vitaminwater zero range, plus many other products including Coca-Cola Life, said a spokesperson.
"We tried something new with vitaminwater as part of our continual effort to innovate our beverage portfolio. Many of our most loyal consumers spoke up and told us that they preferred the taste of the previous version. So, after a thorough review and evaluation, we are responding to their input and returning to our previous formula.
"Stevia leaf extract remains a key ingredient that The Coca-Cola Company has incorporated into more than 45 of our products in more than 15 countries worldwide. We also use stevia leaf extract as a sweetener in vitaminwater zero which tastes great, is enhanced with nutrients and has zero calories.
"The fact is, fans of the previous vitaminwater formula simply preferred the taste they’ve come to love over the years."
Click on the link below for some reaction to the move: