The Pepsi challenge: real sugar

As the cost of corn syrup rises, sugar is coming back

by Chris Sorensen

The Pepsi challenge: real sugarCanadians following the NFL playoffs may have noticed that Pepsi is bombarding American television viewers with ads for Pepsi Throwback. In addition to coming in a can adorned with the company’s old logo, replaced two years ago, the other main selling point is that the “refreshingly retro” version is sweetened with good ol’ fashioned sugar. Which has caused some to wonder what, exactly, they had been drinking in the first place?

The answer, for those who don’t read food labels closely, is high-fructose corn syrup. It’s been the beverage industry’s sweetener of choice for decades—largely because it has historically been much cheaper than sugar. But sugar is once again back in vogue. In addition to the retro version of its namesake product, Pepsi is also offering a Mountain Dew Throwback until Feb. 22 (although not in Canada). Meanwhile, there are also sugar versions of Dr. Pepper on the market, while Gatorade and Snapple have said they plan to offer similar sugar-sweetened versions of their drinks. For its part, Pepsi says it’s reintroducing baby boomers to a taste from their childhood, noting that many customers say they prefer the “all natural” flavour of sugar-sweetened beverages.

But observers say the industry is testing the market amid mounting concerns about high-fructose corn syrup’s role in contributing to America’s obesity epidemic (although there’s not much evidence that sugar is any healthier) and the rising cost of corn-based products as more U.S. crops are diverted to production of ethanol-based fuels. The president of the U.S. Sugar Association, Andy Briscoe, said Pepsi’s move gives “shoppers another opportunity to choose natural sweeteners instead of manufactured ones” after the industry “rapidly introduced” high-fructose corn syrup to the North American market in the 1970s and 1980s. With only about five per cent of the U.S. beverage market at present, American sugar producers are keeping their fingers crossed that sugary Pepsi, as well as other soda brands, will be the choice of a new generation.




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The Pepsi challenge: real sugar

  1. Coke&Pepsi both use sugar to sweeten their soft drinks in Latin America it tastes sooo much better even out of a can. A lot of health problems are due to the use of high fructose corn syrup in foods as well.

  2. It's a crime against Humanity what the Corn Refiners have done with their poisonous HFCS. The good news is that Americans are slowly waking up and rejecting this poison. I predict that the tidal wave against HFCS will make the movement against tobacco appear like a small ripple. I would hate to be a member of the Corn Refiners because it's going to get really ugly, really soon, for them.

  3. Yep, HFCS is a not a good thing to be eating. The massive subsidies that keep the GM-corn growers in business are unsustainable anyway, so they will be gone when the legs come out from under the entire US economy this year. FWIW though, sugar prices are at a thirty-year high too.

  4. I have been drinking Pepsi throwback for the past 2 months and now they have stopped selling it again. I dont want to go back to drinking regular pepsi. I dont see why they cant keep making it when so many people like it.

  5. Also it is cheaper than in Canada

  6. That is why Pepsi and Coke taste better overseas

  7. Kosher Coke, which shows up around Passover in some locations in Canada, is sweetened with sugar not HFCS

    HFCS is a really bad for you, not that sugar is good for you, perhaps I should say sugar isnt nearly as bad HFCS

  8. This should be monitored for health purposes. The obesity rate is getting younger and younger every day.

  9. Sugar does have its problems as well, but it is at least a more natural product and it does indeed taste better. Orange Crush, Coke and Pepsi made overseas with sugar is a lot more satisfying, but something else that could be pursued are natural sweetners like stevia which actually is quite good for you. I have also seen reduced sugar beverages that alos use stevia and they are quite good and a lot lower in calories.

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