Frankie’s changes to artificial sweeteners and people aren’t happy

Frankie's Soft Drinks

Since 2006, Frankie’s Olde Soft Drink Company created some of the best beverages in South Africa. Its recipes for Original Cream Soda, Cloudy Lemonade, and Root Beer were fantastic.. Now, the company has made a change that has upset a lot of its fans.

As with most soft drinks, Frankie’s created with sugar as a major component. Around February this year, the company changed to substitute 60% of its sugar for artificial sweeteners. It’s a move that Lucozade did last year. Unfortunately for Frankie’s, customers aren’t happy about the change.

Fans voice their outrage

Its Facebook page now contains several one-star ratings from angry customers about the ingredient switch.

“Less sugar!?!?!? Adding sweetener?!?!? Just lost my support, with my family, we will never be buying Frankie’s again. Sorry for your loss, do your market research people,” writes Arthur King.

“Used to be my favourite drinks, but now “Less Sugar” = addition of artificial sweeteners, which I refuse to put into my body! Lost customer. Not happy,” adds Brenda Olwagen.

In some cases, Frankie’s social media team has taken weeks to respond to some of the complaints. This has not gone over well for the brand.

Frankie’s and Clover

In October 2015, it was announced that the JSE-listed Clover would purchase a 51% stake in Frankie’s Soft Drinks. This saw Clover officially enter the South African soft drinks market.

Since the acquisition, Frankie’s band has been quieter. It once had a booming Twitter presence that is now nearly non-existent The company also removed its hot chocolate & marshmallow offering. And the Dandelion & Burdock and Fiery Ginger Beer flavours have vanished from the official website.

Have the drinks really changed?

Today, I decided to pick Frankie’s Root Beer and Original Cream Soda. I needed to know how the sugar reduction has affected the flavour. What was once sweet and refreshing drinks are now a bit on the disappointing side. Both the Root Beer and Cream Soda have a slightly sour undertone and a dissatisfying aftertaste. The sweeteners are anything but that and contribute to the unpleasant aftertaste. It’s going to be a very long time before I forget these tastes.

Here’s hoping Clover revisits Frankie’s formula and improves it.