Have you seen the “new” Pepsi Throwback? Basically, it’s Pepsi from the ‘70s: In the old packaging but made with sugar.
It’s…sublime. It doesn’t leave a film in your mouth. It has a clean, refreshing taste. Swear to God, it actually bubbles nicer. The bubbles are sharper and more lively. I had this obsession a few years ago with trying to find soda that bubbled the way I remembered—and never could. (Returned a whole lot of fountain drinks as “flat”.)
In the mid-’80s, the soda companies switched from sugar to high fructose corn syrup. One of the reasons given for this is that HFCS is “easier to transport”. Curiously, the soda companies don’t use HFCS anywhere else in the world. Just the US. In fact, one trick used by sugar soda fans is to buy sodas imported from Mexico (which I’ve heard CostCo has).
So if it’s not transportation, why would soda companies use it? Well, the Federal Government subsidizes HFCS, making it slightly cheaper than sugar. The Federal Government also jacks up the price of sugar (to seven times the world price!), making sugar a lot more expensive.
It’s probably too soon to blame HFCS for obesity, liver disease, diabetes and autism, but not to soon to blame it for screwing up the soda experience. And never to soon to blame the government for making it all economical.
We already eat quite a bit of corn: On the cob, loose, as chips and tortillas, corn bread, polenta, etc. To then HFCS in virtually every sweetened product on the market? Probably a bad idea.
Meanwhile, the Snapple Company is coming out with Dr. Pepper “Heritage"—the sugar-based version of Dr. Pepper.
And the corn folks are already in full blown PR mode. You’ve probably seen the HFCS commercials. And if you search for it on the web, the industry sites are there. The recent indications of mercury being found in it, probably doesn’t help their image.
Having re-tasted the old sodas (and having drunk a lot of "gourmet” sodas over the years), I sure bet these guys don’t want to go head-to-head with sugar.
Oh, by the way: Tomorrow is the last day for Pepsi (and Mountain Dew) Throwback. I’m gonna stock up.