Dr Pepper Snapple Group and All Sport Inc plan to launch a sports drinks in the US, containing a natural sweetener derived from the stevia plant.

The drink, All Sport Naturally Zero, will be marketed as a zero-calorie sports drink and launched next month, the firms said this week.

They said that the drink contains rebiana, a natural sweetener derived from the stevia plant and part of a new range of stevia-based sweeteners that analysts expect to sweep the US soft drinks sector, following regulatory clearance last year.

Rebiana has been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration.

"We have been working diligently in our R&D centre to incorporate stevia in our products and in our allied brands, such as All Sport," said Larry Young, CEO of Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the third largest soft drinks firm in the US.

All Sport Naturally Zero will be available in 20-oz bottles in convenience and gas, grocery and speciality retail channels, as well as in three flavours: Dragonfruit, Strawberry Star Fruit and Mandarin Orange.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group holds an equity stake in Big Red Inc, the parent company of All Sport Inc, and is the primary distributor of the All Sport brand.

Late last year, both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo said that they were also plotting a new range of stevia drinks.