"Generic" Splenda Could Be On The Way

Late last week, soft drink manufacturer Cadbury Schweppes announced the addition of Splenda to Diet 7Up, a decision allegedly based on consumer feedback that suggested the artificial sweetener was the one they would prefer listed on a soft drink can, a sad fact considering all the deceptive consumer marketing done to position it as a "healthy" alternative to sugar.

By the numbers:

  • Diet soft drinks claim the biggest market share for artificial sweeteners, with more than 87 million consumers in this country.
  • Some 144 million American adults consume low-calorie, sugar-free products on a regular basis according to a 1998 study.

Despite the announcement, however, Tate & Lyle, the UK-based makers of Splenda, may indeed have good reason to be concerned about the future of its artificial sweetener: Despite the push for more production at its U.S. plant in McIntosh, Ala., and a new manufacturing facility opening in Singapore next year, there's talk in the business press the exclusive patents on Splenda may be expiring as soon as 2006.

A little history: The original patent for sucralose filed in 1976 by Tate & Lyle recently expired, opening the product up to competitors (although that expiration time could be questioned based on when sucralose really debuted on the market). This news may have prompted investment giant Goldman Sachs to downgrade Tate & Lyle stock from neutral to underperform.

Currently, Tate & Lyle owns 32 different patents -- from commercial blends and products to processing -- on Splenda. Makes you wonder why consumers haven't wised up to the fact that Splenda's catch selling slogan -- Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar -- is nothing more marketing slight-of-hand than can damage their health for the long-term.

Food Navigator Europe April 21, 2005

Food Navigator USA.com April 25, 2005

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