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Pepsi to launch soda naturally sweetened with stevia

Pepsi will launch a new stevia sweetened soda this month, Pepsi True, exclusively on Amazon.

PepsiCo Inc. is going natural as Americans lose their taste for traditional cola.

The Purchase, N.Y., beverage giant said it's debuting a new soda with no artificial sweeteners or high-fructose corn syrup. Instead, Pepsi True contains real sugar and stevia, a natural sweetener made from plant leaves, the company said Wednesday.

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The soda will come in 7.5-ounce cans, with 60 calories.

The announcement comes as soda consumption in the United States has steadily declined. Partly because of health concerns, per capita soda consumption fell 22% in 2013 from its peak in 1998, said John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest.

To blunt that shift, soda makers are switching things up.

Pepsi launched the stevia-sweetened Pepsi Next two years ago in Australia. In August, Coca-Cola debuted Coca-Cola Life in the United States. The beverage — previously launched in several Latin American countries — contains cane sugar and stevia. An 8-ounce container also has 60 calories.

Pepsi True will be available in mid-October, exclusively on Amazon, Pepsi said. The soda has 30% less sugar than regular Pepsi, the company said.

Twitter: @khouriandrew

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