PepsiCo backpedals on new Diet Pepsi

New Diet Pepsi is officially a flop and the soft drink company is going back to the contentious and scary-sounding aspartame to sweeten up its beverages.

It will be selling the good ol’ Diet Pepsi again alongside the new in US stores from September.

The new drink, introduced in April 2015, substituted aspartame – said to cause wide-ranging health effects from headaches to Alzheimer’s – with sucralose, a noncaloric sugar derivative. The problem? Sucralose apparently didn’t taste as great.

PepsiCo spent a reported two years researching their decline in Diet Pepsi sales before making the switch, discovering through a range of surveys that American consumers were dropping diet drinks due to aspartame.

However, when they made the change in August 2015, there was a huge backlash. According to the Wall Street Journal, the ratio of negative comments to positive in the weeks following the launch was about six to one. WSJ also cites U.S. retail sales of Diet Pepsi falling 10.6% in volume in the first quarter of 2016 as one of the causes for this about-face.

There will now be three diet options available in the Pepsi Cola range: Diet Pepsi with aspartame, Diet Pepsi with sucralose and Pepsi Zero Sugar (which used to be Pepsi Max).