LEAF Brands LLC, Newport Beach, Calif., now offers a 100% naturally sweetened, zero calorie line extension of its popular Astro Pop® sodas.

A candy and snack manufacturer, LEAF took its Astro Pops lollipop brand into beverages in 2011 with Astro Pop sodas using real cane sugar in glass bottles. The drinks use the exact flavors of LEAF’s Astro Pop lollipop. Officials say the sodas then sold out shortly after their release.

Following success of its cane sugar-sweetened sodas, LEAF has developed three new varieties:  Zero Calorie Pineapple, Zero Calorie Passion Fruit, and Zero Calorie Cherry. Officials say Astro Pop Zero Calorie sodas are made with LEAF Brand's proprietary, all natural sugar-free blend called Ultrasweet™.

'”We created Ultrasweet since there wasn't a natural sugar substitute on the market which didn't leave a strange taste in one's mouth,” says LEAF CEO Ellia Kassoff. “We also wanted to create a sweetener which is 100% naturally derived without the GMO's found in other natural sweeteners.”

Officials say Astro Pop sodas are available nationwide in specialty retailers, such as Rocket Fizz; and will be distributed to larger retailers by the end of this year. Astro Pop sodas are currently sold in 12-ounce glass bottles at a suggested retail price of $1.69.

"We're really excited to start experimenting with different flavors as well,” adds Kassoff. “With as many Astro Pop variations we can make, the possibilities for our sodas are endless.”

Kassoff says the original LEAF Brands began in the 1920's and once was North America’s fourth largest candy producer with products such as Whoppers®, Jolly Rancher® and Rain Blo Bubblegum®, which were later sold to Hershey in the late 1990's.

Family members since have acquired the LEAF brand name for U.S. sales and distribution. LEAF’s current line includes Astro Pops®, Yummers!™, Farts Candy™ and David's Signature Beyond Gourmet™ products. Kassoff says LEAF plans to reintroduce other retro products and brands, such as Hydrox Cookies™, Tart n Tinys™, Bonkers! ™ Fruit Chews, and Wacky Wafers™ by late 2014.