The Coca-Cola Company is confident it will neither bewilder nor alienate consumers with its decision to launch yet another version of its much-guzzled soft drink brand Diet Coke.

The newcome will be marketed as Diet Coke Sweetened with Splenda - the last name being the brand property of British sugar and sweetener titan Tate & Lyle.

The company is swift to point out that "the millions of current Diet Coke devotees across America shouldn't be concerned. The Diet Coke they love will stay just as it is", sweetened as always with aspartame and sold alongside the new version.

Coke claims it makes sense to use the powerful Diet Coke brand name in responding to consumers' growing interest in Splenda. Diet Coke with Splenda will initially be sold only in the US and will appear on store shelves in May with the sweetener's oval logo and yellow highlights on the silver packaging.

The company's arch rival, Pepsico, has also pinned its colours to the Splenda mast by launching its reformulation of diet drink Pepsi One next month.

It is not known whether the changes in sweetener are marketing-driven or panic-driven. A number of US consumer groups charge that aspartame, branded NutraSweet, is toxic.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff