The artificial sweetener wars are now being duked out in the courts.
"In one corner is the artificial sweetener in the blue packet, Equal; in the other is its best-selling rival in the yellow packet, Splenda," New York Times reporter Lynnley Browning aptly explained.
Essentially, Merisant, makers of Equal and NutraSweet are pouncing on Splenda’s heavily marketed tagline “Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar." This is a claim that Equal denounces as an “urban myth” on its Web site.
Anyhow, now Merisant has to convince a jury that McNeil Nutritionals, a division of Johnson & Johnson, has been misleading consumers by claiming in TV and print ads, as well as labeling, that Splenda contains sugar, Associated Press writer Maryclaire Dale reported after Tuesday’s proceedings, the first day in court.
Interestingly, the lawyer for McNeil [Splenda] insisted that rival Merisant filed suit in 2004 simply because Splenda — which was introduced seven years ago — outsells Equal about 4-to-1. "Now… Merisant wants to blame its misfortunes on false advertising," McNeil attorney Steven Zalesin claimed.
McNeil (Splenda) attorney Zalesin made another very telling remark, too — that no sugar substitute advertises itself as an artificial sweetener, the AP reported. The lawayer also revealed that marketers all use what he called "code" language, such as the term "no-calorie sweetener." (Clearly, they don’t want us consumers to realize that chemicals galore are used to create these products.)
But before you believe their stories, please check out my book SUGAR SHOCK!, where you can get all kinds of questions answered about artificial sweeteners. In fact, I went to several experts to get their take and their observations are quite enlightening.