Splenda, the leading non-sugar sweetener, is looking to break into the wider beverage universe, introducing Peel & Pour Zero Calorie Drink Mix. The product comes in premeasured liquid pods that people can add to two quarts of water, and is launching in four flavors.
"Splenda's goal is to help consumers live healthier, happier, longer lives by giving them more and easier options to reduce sugar so that they can take control of their diet and their health," says Chris Flaherty, Splenda's senior vice president of marketing.
The brand is America's best-known low-calorie sweetener, and the launch represents a chance to break out beyond its coffee-and-tea sweetening roots.
Splenda's been thinking "about all the different product categories where we could bring our delicious zero-calorie sweetening technology to new and different categories, and drink mixes are just an obvious platform," she tells Marketing Daily. "Most options in the category have heavy amounts of sugar."
The company recognized how successful other products have been in migrating from powder to liquid dosing.
An ad campaign from Chicago-based Blue Chip demonstrates how easy it is to prepare the product and focuses on a large glass pitcher.
"There was some confusion as to whether or not the product was intended for single use or multiuse," she says. Products like Keurig have "planted the seed in people's heads that one cup equals one serving. We wanted to make sure people understood that this is a multi-serve product, and that led to Blue Chip's idea that the pitcher itself should be the star of the show."
She says the campaign also aims to position Peel & Pour as "a way to plus-up water, without demonizing plain water. And we wanted to focus on all great times and places people want to have a multiserve beverage like pool parties, family meals and barbecues."
Ads are running on linear and digitally delivered TV.
The new product launch comes at a complex time for sugar-loving consumers. Americans have been cutting back on soda consumption, including diet sodas, for years. Yet the appetite for sweet beverages made with non-nutritive sweeteners continues to build. That includes increases in stevia sales, which many regard as healthier than sucralose. Splenda also markets stevia-based products.
But medical evidence that non-nutritive sweeteners may be harmful continues to pile up. The World Health Organization recently released new guidelines warning people to avoid these sweeteners, including sucralose, stevia and aspartame, as a way to control body weight. Its metanalysis also finds the potential for harmful effects from long-term use, including the increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality in adults.
Flaherty says the WHO’s conclusions are not based on high-quality data.
Additionally, a new study from the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health links a form of sucralose, sucralose-6-acetate, with the breakdown of DNA and leaky gut syndrome.
Flaherty calls that study "radical misinformation" and says the researchers did not test any Splenda-branded products. “And sucralose-6-acetate, which is not present in our products, is not the same as sucralose."
She asserts Splenda is healthy "and continues giving consumers options for controlling the amount of sugar they consume. This new Peel & Pour product is a great way for people to enjoy a beverage that doesn't have 300 calories."