A sweet Asian fruit tempts the troubled soft drink industry

An obscure melon once cultivated by Buddhist monks in China to sweeten tea could give the $8 billion U.S. diet soda industry a shot at winning back consumers concerned about artificial ingredients. You won’t find monk fruit in any of the soft drinks at your local convenience store. When “someone figures this out and gets a taste that is low-calorie and natural, it could really be a silver bullet that catapults that company ahead,” said Ali Dibadj, an analyst at Bernstein who follows the soft drink industry. Once a booming sector, diet soda has become a laggard.


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