Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages announced on Friday that as from 23 May its diet lemon-lime carbonated soft drink will be reformulated with Splenda.
"We are excited to be the first and only diet lemon-lime carbonated soft drink to make the switch," said Randy Gier, executive vice president of marketing, Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages.
He said that the decision to change Diet Seven Up's recipe to include Splenda was based on consumer feedback which suggested that McNeil Nutrionals' sweetener was the one they would prefer to see listed on their can of pop.
Moreover, Cadbury Schweppes said that its recently launched 7 Up Plus - made from fruit juice, added calcium and Splenda -had helped "significant volume gains on the 7 UP business".
In February, Coca-Cola said it would role out a new version of its classic drink sweetened with Splenda. And, hot on the heels of this announcement, PepsiCo revealed it would use Splenda sucralose in its reformulated Pepsi One cola to create a "full-flavour cola with only one calorie."
Diet soft drinks claim the biggest market share for artificial sweeteners, with over 87 million consumers in the US alone. According to a 1998 survey commissioned by the Calorie Control Council, 144 million American adults consume low-calorie, sugar-free products on a regular basis.
For the moment at least, Splenda shows no signs of losing its increasingly powerful grip of this market, despite a federal court in Los Angeles ruling last week that the Sugar Association can continue its claim into whether McNeil's Splenda campaign is misleading.
The US district court of Central California ruled that the Sugar Association had the right to continue its research into whether the Splenda campaign is deceptive with its slogan, "made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar", misleading consumers into thinking the artificial sweetener was "natural".
If the industry body does - as it is sure it will - find proof of deceptive advertising it will no doubt seek corrective advertising from McNeil Nutritionals or some sort of apology from the firm saying it has mislead the American consumer.
However, until if and when this does happen, McNeil Nutritionals will remain committed to giving consumers the right information they need to help them manage their sugar intake, according to Monica Neufang, the spokeswoman for the company. "There are more and more examples of obesity affecting people's lifestyle and Splenda is just one tool that customers have to reduce their calorific intake," she told FoodNavigatorUSA.com.
The Sugar Association first filed a lawsuit in December against McNeil Nutritionals, which hinged on "deceptive and/or misleading representations", made by the sweetener firm in "advertisements and marketing terminology".
Previous to this, Merisant, the US maker of tabletop sweetener Equal and NutraSweet and a competitor to Splenda, had alleged in November that the product's marketing slogan, "made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar", had mislead consumers into thinking the artificial sweetener was "natural".
McNeil Nutritionals asserts that sucralose starts off as pure cane sugar, and is then chemically altered in the manufacturing process to create a new compound with zero calories and 600 times sweeter than sugar.