just On Call - DPSG chief echoes concerns around diet soda decline
DPSG is confident its TEN range can buck the trend on diet sodas
Sales in the diet category have been hit this year by consumer health fears around the artificial sweetener aspartame, which appears in many diet products. The sub-category's unit sales fell by 6.9% in the US for the four-week period to 3 August, Nielsen figures showed.
“We are shocked at how we have seen diets decline,” said DPSG's CEO Larry Young, in a conference call with analysts following nine-month results today (23 October). It follows similar comments made by PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi last week.
Young told analysts that there was a public “misperception” around aspartame. He pointed to it being linked to Alzheimer's and obesity, but said the facts did not back this up.
“We need to do a better job of educating people on the science,” he added.
However, the company remains confident that its low-calorire TEN range, which contains aspartame, will prosper. “We are still bullish on the look of it long-term,” said Young. “It takes a long time to change people's habits.”
On recent US price wars in the CSD category, Young admitted he had seen some “pretty aggressive” pricing last month. “We decided not to follow that...and we are seeing people come back now,” he said.
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