Blog: Olly WehringChristmas comes early for Coca-Cola, PepsiCo

Olly Wehring | 18 December 2008

This week's clearance for natural sweeteners derived from the stevia plant could prove to be a watershed moment for soft drinks.

The US Food and Drug Administration has cleared both Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo to use their different versions of the sweetener.

Soft drinks firms are salivating over stevia and it's not hard to see why.

There is the soft drinks industry, battered from all sides over obesity and artificial additives, and then along comes a new sweetener that not only contains zero calories but can also be described as a "natural" ingredient.

It's early days, of course, but stevia is going to be one to watch. Development is theoretically open to all because there can be no patent on stevia itself, only particular sweeteners derived from it.

Next stop will be the EU, which is still deliberating.


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