It is that clarity that made the brand a "phenomenal success," she says. The message: Splenda is made with sugar and has greater cooking/baking possibilities than its competitors. This was carried through every communication from advertising to packaging. Through the key iced-tea drinking summer, the brand held a 40% dollar share of the nearly $300 million sweetener category in food, drug and mass outlets excluding Wal-Mart Stores, according to McNeil's data from Information Resources Inc. That trumped Merisant Co.'s longtime leading Equal brand and Cumberland Packing Co.'s Sweet & Low. Splenda is an ingredient in about 3,000 products globally, roughly half of those in the U.S., and major retailers like Wal-Mart have been clamoring for Splenda-based products to offer diet-hungry consumers.
Ms. Sandler says the market was ripe for a new sweetener with a great-taste message as "the obesity epidemic has people sitting up and re-evaluating their food choices." In terms of foodservice sales, she acknowledges that the brand has not been as strong in this crucial category. But she says it is a priority for the business. Splenda has signed a new distributor so that next year at this time, she hopes to have leadership there as well.