The common ingredients in each can of Dr Pepper include carbonated water, artificial coloring, sugar, phosphoric acid and preservatives. Like most other carbonated beverages, Dr Pepper contains caffeine and artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and acesulfame potassium. Artificial and natural flavorings are also included.
Dr Pepper contains a blend of 23 fruit flavors that gives it a distinctive taste. Diet Dr Pepper uses sodium benzoate as a preservative, while other varieties use potassium sorbate. Pepper Free is a caffeine-free version of Diet Dr Pepper that was introduced in 1982 to cater to health-conscious consumers. However, it was discontinued after three years.
Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper, another popular version of Dr Pepper, was introduced in 2004. Although its ingredients are very similar to those of the original Dr Pepper, it features strong vanilla and cherry flavors. It tastes like the famous soda fountain beverages from 1950s.
The soft drink industry in the United States has stopped using sugar as an ingredient, and Dr Pepper has replaced sugar with high fructose corn syrup. While very few bottling plants in the United States still use sugar to sweeten Dr Pepper, some bottling plants are also using cane sugar as an alternate ingredient as of 2015.