Coca-Cola's New Plan: Defend Aspartame

Well, here's one way to try to boost sales: say that diet sodas are good for you. That's what Coca-Cola is trying out in a series of new advertisements, reports the Associated Press, in an effort to boost declining soda and diet soda sales. 

These new ads, scheduled to run in USA Today (in its Atlanta markets) and the Chicago Tribune, not only stress the safety of aspartame, a hotly debated ingredient found in Diet Coke and other diet drinks, but also say diet sodas can help people manage their weight. Many believe the new ads come at a time when Coca-Cola (and other soda companies) feel backed into a corner by critics who say soda is to blame for rising obesity rates. Meanwhile, diet soda sales are dropping, but why? Many say that despite numerous studies saying aspartame is safe to consume as a sweetener, consumers are still wary of it. 

The ads are only one part of Coca-Cola's initiative to raise awareness of aspartame; future plans include more free webinars for dietitians and "online resources" for health care professionals. Still, is touting the wonderful benefits of aspartame a little too self-promoting for the company? Time will tell if its newest health initiative will work.