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Made with REAL sugar…

September 14, 2010, 10:23 PM

It’s funny how things work out sometimes. As you may know, PepsiCo did a five-week run of its limited-edition “Throwback” line of drinks, selling versions of Pepsi and Mountain Dew sweetened with sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. They also introduced retro-style packaging to go along with this:

Pepsi Throwback  Mountain Dew Throwback

First of all, I hadn’t seen the “Pepsi” name inside the globe since I was a child. After all, they redesigned the package in 1991 to remove the name from inside the globe, and placed it next to it. I was ten years old when that happened, and that was the first time I saw the “New look, same great taste” slogan used – the first of several times that I have seen them trot out that slogan.

Then for Mountain Dew, I had no idea until seeing the Throwback drinks that Mountain Dew was originally marketed using a hillbilly character. You certainly wouldn’t see that anymore today, especially since Mountain Dew nowadays is doing its best to look “cool” and not all rustic and back-woodsy.

However, once you have a taste of a soft drink sweetened with sugar and not high fructose corn syrup, you’ll never want to go back to the corn syrup-sweetened versions again. Seriously. These real-sugar beverages are actually – heaven forbid – refreshing. They don’t leave a film in your mouth. And because of that, I think they taste better, because they don’t coat your mouth with that corn syrup film. They still taste like Pepsi and Mountain Dew, but they just taste better and drink better.

If it tells you anything, I actually stocked up on the stuff when it came out. In one of my kitchen cabinets right now, I have a small stash of the stuff – four 12-packs of Throwback cans. Two of Pepsi and two of Mountain Dew. That ought to last me a while.

Now what PepsiCo ought to do is turn the Throwback concept into their regular line. In other words, Pepsi Throwback should become plain Pepsi. Plain sugar is more natural than high fructose corn syrup, plus you already know what I think about the sugar version vs. the corn syrup version of the two. That might just give Pepsi an edge over Coke, which, to my knowledge, has never offered any sort of “Throwback” style beverage. It also might spell doom for high fructose corn syrup sodas in general if it can be proven that people will pay for the real sugar (and a better product). What can I say – the rumors are true. Sugar-sweetened soda is just an overall better beverage.

And then also – if Throwback is made with “real sugar”, what does that imply about the regular beverage? Seems like an implicit admission that high fructose corn syrup is not “real sugar”. Interesting, indeed…

Meanwhile, Dr Pepper has also gotten into the real-sugar game with their own “throwback” style drink: a 125th-anniversary edition of Dr Pepper. Like Pepsi and Mountain Dew, it’s made with real sugar, and has a retro design on the packaging. I’ve never really been that into Dr Pepper, so I can’t say I ever bought much of it. But one of my coworkers is. I picked up a 20-ounce bottle of the Dr Pepper anniversary edition stuff at a CVS near my house, and he noticed it sitting in the fridge at work, and asked where I got it. I explained where I got it, but he didn’t particularly want to go out to Glenmont to get one. So he Emailed me today, after realizing that the beverage was going to be discontinued soon (since it is a limited edition, after all), and said that if I see it again, to grab one for him, and he would pay me back.

Well, lady luck would certainly smile in his direction. Ask and ye shall receive, James. I stopped by the 7-Eleven on 16th Street in Silver Spring on the way back to the office tonight (remember to take everything you need with you before you leave for the day!), and found this:

Dr Pepper with real sugar

So I bought it, took the above picture, and sent it as a text message to my coworker, saying, “You owe me.” That 12-pack is now sitting in his office chair. It’s a shame that I’m coming in late tomorrow, because I would love to see his reaction when he sees a 12-pack of the retro Dr Pepper in his office tomorrow morning. I told him that I found the stuff, you see, but I didn’t tell him it was already at the office (unless he reads Schumin Web before tomorrow morning).

So there you go. May the sugar-sweetened versions of the various soft drinks live long and prosper, and may the high fructose corn syrup versions be banished to the stuff-we-can’t-sell shelf in the back of the stores where merchandise goes to die.

Web site: "Pepsi Throwback Actually a Step Forward" - read the comments, too. Quite interesting.

Song: Old Pepsi commercial from 1991. This is the "Pepsi Summer Chill Out", which involved that funny hand gesture and "California Sun".

Quote: And yes, I know that both the sugar version and the high-fructose corn syrup version are bad for you due to its being a lot of sugar. I normally drink diet soda (I also keep a stash of Coke Zero in my kitchen), but this is something special, you see...

Categories: Food and drink, Work