John McDonald

Blogging about politics, life, and the web

Pepsi Throwback – Real Sugar?

May 19th, 2009

I had heard rumors of market testing real sugar in the soda business, and I’ve been on the lookout.  Today, I finally found a couple eight-packs at the neighborhood Wal-mart.

Now, I’m not averse to high fructose corn syrup for health reasons.  There’s a little bit of evidence that corn is valued for its availability rather than its nutritional content, but the only good scientific research I’ve seen specifically looks at corn oil and protein meal.  The sugars themselves aren’t chemically different from sugars from other sources.

But the corn sugar just tastes terrible.  I got hooked on caffeine about twenty years ago, drinking soda, and back then the stuff actually tasted good because they used real cane sugar.  Where I once drank 2 liters a day, I might have a one soda a month because its conveniently available around town.  At home, I can’t stand the so-called fruit juice that relies on corn sweeteners and I’ll spend the extra buck for Juicy-Juice or pure orange + pineapple mix.  Again, I don’t claim its healthier, it just tastes so much better.

The cost is fairly steep – eight cans of Pepsi or Mountain Dew Throwback cost $2.50.  Usually, you can get a twelve pack of sugar-sweetened cola for that price. The cans sport a retro design that gives me a 1990s flashback, but I think they were using corn since the late 1980s.

So… how is it?

The first thing I did when I got home was toss a can in the freezer.  From there, it spent another hour in the fridge.  I wanted to make sure it was nice ‘n cold without forming chunks of ice.

Wow… if the packaging was a flash back, the taste is a full blown time-warp.  The first sip isn’t much different than most sodas, but the aftertaste is a completely different experience I had forgotten about.  It doesn’t have that slightly bitter flash, it actually seems to get sweeter throughout the gulp.

My taste buds are thanking Pepsi right now… and I usually prefer Coke!  If I have any complaint, its how quickly 35 cents worth of soda just disappeared.  Rather than the sticky, thirsty feeling I had come to associate with pop, this has actually left my mouth watering and ready to drink another.

The verdict?  I’m gonna have to highly recommend Pepsi Throwback for all you other junk food snobs out there.  Buy enough and they might actually continue making the stuff!

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