• Thu, Dec 12 - 2:30 pm ET

People Finally Realized That Diet Soda Is Gross

Bottles of Diet Coke As a beverage, soda has been more American than Kentucky Bourbon and milk from Wisconsin cows combined for decades, but that may be changing fast. According to a Wells Fargo analysis of Nielson data (nerd stuff), diet soda sales fell by nearly 7 percent in the past year. Full sugar soda sales dropped as well, but only by 2 percent.

Experts believe that the decline is caused by an increase in consumer’s concerns over health. As of late, consumers are specifically more concerned about the safety of artificial sweeteners and chemicals than ever before. A recent report from research, consulting and consumer behavior firm, the Hartman Group, shows that the 2013 consumer is more “concerned about avoiding sweeteners like Saccharine, Aspartame, and Sucralose,” but less concerned with “avoiding salt and refined sugar” than the 2007 consumer. Per the CEO of the Hartman Group, Laurie Demerit:

“The biggest trend in food, really, is a desire for consumers to move away from things that are very processed.”

Lucky for consumers, there has been a “rapid proliferation of alternatives” ready to fill the gap left by the trendy move away from artificial sweeteners. There are a lot of new low-calorie thirst quenching options gaining popularity on the market, like coconut water or drinks sweetened with Stevia. Consumers view these products as “healthier” because they’re perceived as “more natural.”

This move away from the omnipresent diet Coca Cola has been a long time coming. Honestly, it’s surprising that it has taken so long. When I was a child in the early 90s, I remember some concern over diet sodas causing cancer and migraines; however, people were more concerned about gaining weight and continued to buy lite, low fat, sugar free, fat free abominations. I, for one, am beyond pleased that we’re starting to value “real” foods and (maybe) moderation over low calorie nonsense. I’d rather not drink soda, but if I’m going to indulge, I’d rather have the total flavor of a Dr. Brown’s cherry soda than some diet potion any day.

via Time//Image via Getty

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  • DeanaCal

    But, but, I LOVE Diet Coke! :( I don’t drink it as much as I used to, because I know that there are healthier alternatives and I’m trying to eat healthier, but I don’t want it to go away. I can’t drink regular (non-diet) sodas because as a diet soda drinker all my life, they are just too sweet. And sometimes you just want a soda!

  • MaureenABA

    When we talk and think about health, it’s important to remember the big picture: that balance and moderation in all calories consumed is key, as is offsetting intake with physical activity. Beverages can certainly be a part of this balance, and the beverage industry offers a wide array of options so consumers can pick and choose the drinks that are best for them. From bottled water to soft drinks, ready-to-drink teas and coffees, sports drinks, juice and more, these beverages help people stay hydrated, which is key to leading a healthy life.

    Let’s talk diet beverages. These drinks and the low- and no-calorie sweeteners they contain are a helpful tool for the many Americans trying to manage calories to achieve a healthy weight. Science has proven these sweeteners are effective in this way, and has also repeatedly verified the safety of these ingredients based on extensive review over multiple decades.

    So, really, it comes down to choices, and our industry is making sure consumers have abundant options so that they can decide which beverages best meet their individual needs.