Asked about the performance of the product, which uses the artificial sweetener sucralose instead of aspartame, she said: “It's too early to tell you exactly how the consumer is reacting, because our belief is that you’ve got to wait a few cycles to see what the purchase repeat adoption cycle is.
“So at the end of Q4, when we go into next year, we might be able to give you some more information, but at this point, it's way too early to talk about how aspartame-free is performing.”
As for natural sweeteners, while there are zero-calorie carbonated soft drinks on the market using only natural sweeteners such as Zevia (which uses stevia and monk fruit), PepsiCo would not be launching an equivalent in the immediate future, she said.
“I don't see a zero calorie naturally sweetened CSD (carbonated soft drink) on the horizon in the next few years, but if you want to talk about low-calorie naturally sweetener beverages, I think the combination of sweeteners, tools, techniques, we have is probably the best portfolio of development tools to enable that to happen.”
'I don't see a zero calorie naturally sweetened CSD on the horizon in the next few years'
She added: “It may not always be in CSDs, but it will be a part of it in non-carbs, part in CSDs and you’ll start seeing these innovations roll out as we speak. I mean, we’ve rolled out a couple of products this year in Manzanita Sol and Mug Root Beer with somebody’s tools [Pepsi has started using a sweet taste modifier developed by Senomyx in these products – click HERE]. You’ll start seeing more of that as next year rolls by.”
Q3, 2015 results
PepsiCo beat expectations for the third-quarter, although earnings were down 0.7% and revenue fell more than 5% to $16.3bn, impacted by foreign exchange.
However, North America beverage volumes rose 3%; Frito-Lay North America volumes grew 0.5%, while Quaker Foods North America volumes rose 2%, said Nooyi.
“During the quarter, we held value shares in liquid refreshment beverages and gained value share across the important sub-categories including ready-to-drink tea and water.”