You can relax about Alan Canfield. There appears to be little danger that he will have to repeat the nightmare he went through in 1985, when shipments of his company's Diet Chocolate Fudge soda suddenly increased a hundredfold ("Too Hot to Handle," March 1987). A.J. Canfield Co. had no trouble coping with demand for its follow-up product, Diet Cherry Chocolate Fudge soda, a concoction that generated unflattering comparisons to cough syrup. Nor does its latest offering sound like much of a threat to Canfield's sanity. It's called Diet Peanut Chocolate Fudge soda.

That's right, peanut fudge soda, as in Reese's cups. "It's a helluva sensation," says Canfield. And well it should be. Chemist Manny Wesber spent a year in the lab trying to capture the elusive balance between peanut aroma and chocolate taste.

Assuming sales of peanut fudge soda prove as manageable as those of the cherry version -- a good bet -- the company will soon be free to devote its attention to a new product currently in development. This one, says Canfield, bears no resemblance to its faddish forebears, which bodes well for his continued peace of mind. "I got very gray" during the Diet Chocolate Fudge episode, he admits. "I don't know that I ever want to go through that again."