For the first time in its 31-year history, cherry-flavored Diet Coke will be sold in Slurpee form at 7-Eleven locations beginning Wednesday, Feb. 26. Known as Diet Coke FROST, the drink will launch nationwide at other stores with frozen beverage machines in May.
Could this radically new form of the product be a way to reinvigorate sales? TIME reported in December 2013 that sales of low-calorie soda had dropped nearly 7 percent over the last year, per a Wells Fargo analysis of Nielsen data. In the article, experts argued that there are more alternatives on the market these days, plus consumers have health concerns about artificial sweeteners and genetically modified ingredients — part of the larger trend of consumers shunning processed foods in general.
Indeed, the new Slurpee may only contain 30 calories per 20-ounce serving, but that does not necessarily mean it can help people stay fit. Studies have shown that diet sodas may not help people lose weight and may actually contribute to weight gain by causing the brain to crave sweeter things, thus consumers may be more likely to overeat later. And people who may be inclined to spike the new frozen beverage should note that another recent study suggests drinkers who use diet soda as a mixer may become more intoxicated more quickly than they realize, exceeding the safe limit for driving. Talk about a Big Gulp…
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