Taste test: are cheap diet colas any good?

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How do lesser-priced soda pops stack up against the big names?  If a genuine addict switched to one of the following brands from Diet Coke or Pepsi ($1.79 for a 2-liter bottle at our neighborhood market), she could probably save enough over the course of the year to buy a couple of MetroCards. We invited a few thirsty diet cola addicts to join us for some tall glasses of caramel color and aspartame.

Pathmark Diet Cola ($0.99 per 2 litre): Sickeningly sweet, powdery, not even recognizable as a distant relative of the big-name brands. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Shop Rite Diet Cola ($0.99 per 2 litre,): Perky, smooth and balanced at first, followed by a slightly medicinal aftertaste. THIRD PLACE

Diet Rite Cola ($1.29 per 2 litre, available at Key Foods): Complex, slightly herbal, yet delightfully mild. HONORABLE MENTION

THE WINNER! Diet RC Cola ($1.29 per 2 litre, available at Key Foods):  Not a supermarket brand but still cheaper than Coke or Pepsi, old-fashioned Royal Crown wins for  flavor: light, jubilant, and not as sweet as others. Add a few ice cubes and a lemon wedge.

Note: Associated Markets and Key Food do carry their own private line, but do not offer Diet varieties.


  1. Actually a lot of the cheep or generic brand sodas are way better. Funny because today I went to the $5 dollar store in WillyBurg to get the 99cent 3 liter sodas for a birthday part on Sunday.

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