Vitaminwater Fans Drown Coke With Gripes Over Sweetener

Bottles of Coca-Cola brand Glaceau Vitaminwater on a supermarket shelf on Wednesday, August 22, 2012. (© Richard B. Levine)
Richard Levine/Alamy
By CANDICE CHOI

NEW YORK -- Fans of Vitaminwater are demanding that parent company Coca-Cola drop a new formula that uses stevia, a low-calorie sweetener known for its metallic aftertaste.

Coca-Cola (KO) changed the formula for its full-calorie Vitaminwater in May, and the new bottles have been hitting shelves nationwide ever since.

Previously, the drinks were sweetened with a mix of crystalline fructose and sugar. Now they are sweetened with a mix of sugar and stevia, a natural sweetener companies use to reduce the sugar content in drinks. The new Vitaminwater still has the same 120 calories a bottle, however.

The change has prompted fans of the drink to inundate Vitaminwater's Facebook (FB) page with complaints about the taste, and demands that the company bring back the old formula.

A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola, Danielle Dubois, said the company loves hearing from its consumers and has been listening to the feedback via social media and its call line.

"We really like our new formulation and hope consumers do, too. That said, we always have our ear to the ground and genuinely appreciate all feedback," she said.

When asked why Coca-Cola made the change, Dubois said the company is "always innovating and evolving our products and packaging."

The company, based in Atlanta, already used stevia in Vitaminwater Zero, a diet version of the drink that has no calories.

Last year, Vitaminwater's sales volume in the U.S. was down 18 percent, according to the industry tracker Beverage Digest. The decline seems to be in part because the enthusiasm for enhanced water from a few years ago has cooled, said John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest.

Sicher noted that Coca-Cola may have been trying to innovate with Vitaminwater to return it to stronger performance.

Coca-Cola bought Glaceau, the parent company of Vitaminwater and Smartwater, for $4.1 billion in 2007.


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bdgrizcp

Another dumb fad. The amount of money Americans waste on junk like this is staggering, but then again, no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public. The profit margin on these products is on a scale with a mob cash advance. In fact, Coca Cola admits (privately) their actual largest expense (after payroll) is water filtration. Not ingredients as you might expect.

June 12 2014 at 5:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
scout638

Apparently they learned nothing from the "New Coke" fiasco in 1985!

June 11 2014 at 11:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rajnroz

JUST DRINK FILTERED WATER...ALL THOSE SWEETNERS ARE HARD ON SYSTEM AND THEY DO IT TO CUT COST..HFC IS HARD ON LIVER

June 11 2014 at 10:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dexter

YUCK!!! I wondered what they did to it.

June 11 2014 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kaylee50

Why can't they just make sugar standards for drinks.....so much per ounce etc. Most drinks are too sweet. I have to water them down with half water when I get home.

June 11 2014 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aainsser

THE no calorie Vitamin Water is not very good. It has somewhat of a bitter taste, and unless it's very, very cold, it ain't no good. In fact , the Vitarain no calorie drink from Costco is much better.
Of course not much beats a good ole cold COCA COLA.

June 11 2014 at 4:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
petpetdon

Lets just say...New Coke BAD, old Coke GOOD. Remember that fiasco?

June 11 2014 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply