Coca-Cola Company (CCC) has announced that it will continue to use natural sweetener stevia in its Glaceau Vitaminwater in the UK despite altering its approach in the US.
CCC faced criticism from its US consumers on Facebook who called for the beverages to return to crystalline fructose and cane sugar after the firm introduced the stevia range. The new version was only rolled out in May but attracted a lot of negative feedback from its customers across the Atlantic. However, CCC confirmed that it would not be changing its approach for the UK market.
A CCC spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk: "We have no current plans to adapt the range further in the UK. Our focus is on delivering great-tasting products that meet consumer demand.
"We conducted extensive taste tests at [the UK launch of Vitaminwater], which found that people felt the new stevia-based formulations were as good or better than the existing range of drinks."
Stevia has been used in Vitaminwater since it was introduced in Great Britain in 2012 and the company said that it has no plans to remove it. This commitment has been praised by sugar reduction campaigners with Action on Sugar giving its backing to CCC's decision.
Tam Fry, advisor to the group and a National Obesity Forum spokesman, explained to FoodManufacture.co.uk that this decision highlights the stark differences between the UK and US when it comes to taste. Mr Fry said that the US seems to be finding it much more difficult to hit sugar reduction targets simply down to consumer taste.
In June, the government unveiled a plan to help tackle sugar consumption in the UK. The Sugar reduction: responding to the challenge report highlighted a range of measures that are designed to reduce the amount of sugar the average Brit consumes on a daily basis.