What is Dr Pepper Zero Sugar?
Keurig Dr Pepper has released a new sugar-free formulation of its iconic soft drink. Using a combination of aspartame and acesulfame potassium, Dr Pepper Zero Sugar is being described as an addition to the aspartame-only Diet Dr Pepper, rather than a replacement.
How is it?
Dr Pepper famously has 23 unique flavors, and you can find lists on the internet that purport to reveal them all. I don’t know how accurate these are (carrot, really?), but as a frequent Diet Dr Pepper drinker, I’m very familiar with what they create.
I pour Dr Pepper Zero Sugar into a glass and take a sip. It tastes like the Diet Dr Pepper that I’m familiar with. Yet, I think a more direct comparison will be fruitful.
One result of spending way too much thinking about junk food is that I’ve realized how susceptible to marketing I am. I prefer Coca-Cola over Pepsi partially because of its comfortable, timeless-seeming aesthetic, as opposed to Pepsi’s aggressively cool Generation Next campaign from my childhood. I still think of a Subway sandwich as a healthy option.
I choose Diet Dr Pepper from the work vending machine because it tastes more like regular Dr Pepper. But does it, really? To test this, I grabbed the original, diet, and zero sugar versions to try them side-by-side. It’s a Dr Pepper Challenge, if you will.
I haven’t had a regular Dr Pepper or any full-sugar soda in years, so I taste it first to establish a baseline. It’s very similar to the Zero Sugar version, with a more syrupy consistency and more intense sweetness. I move onto the diet one and am surprised by the difference. The mouthfeel is thinner and the sweetness has a flatness with a slightly chemical flavor that I’ve never noticed before. It does not taste like regular Dr Pepper. This is very concerning to me. Are my opinions so subject to media influence? Am I captive to corporate forces larger than I can conceive? I resample Dr Pepper Zero Sugar to confirm that it tastes more like regular Dr Pepper, and am convinced that it more faithfully replicates the original.
Dr Pepper Zero Sugar has opened my eyes to the truth. Diet Dr Pepper does not taste more like regular Dr Pepper, but this version does. Well played, Doctor, though you can still expect a malpractice lawsuit for all the quarters I’ve fed into the cafeteria soda machine.
Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2 Liter
Purchased at: Piggly Wiggly
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (12 fl oz) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 gram of protein.