Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Retro Drinks Are Here to Stay

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy known as the mid-70s, soft drink companies used to employ a substance called sugar in order to add sweetness to their beverages. But sometime around 1975, due to a combination of government-imposed tariffs on imported sugar and government-imposed quotas on domestic sugar production, the price of this natural food product was artificially driven up, forcing companies like Pepsi Co. and Coca-Cola to look elsewhere for a more cost-effective alternative to sweetening their products (thanks Feds, you rock!) Enter high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, which is basically processed corn starch that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose resulting in the production of a cheap artificial sweetener. Mmmmmmm, tasty! Most consumers, of course, never noticed the switch and those that did were quickly detained and sent to a joint Soviet-U.S. gulag in Siberia. Ha, ha, just kidding (they made me add that). By the 21st century, however, the cost of sugar was beginning to drop while the price of HFCS had risen due to its increased use in the production of ethanol fuel. Add to that a heated public debate regarding the potentially adverse heath-effects of high-fructose corn syrup and the newest generation soft-drinkers were ready for a return to the basics. Thankfully, Pepsi Co. answered that call and in 2009 introduced their Throwback line of soft-drinks featuring retro-graphics on the label and real honest-to-goodness sugar in place of the long incumbent HFCS. Batches of the new product were initially produced in small quantities as Pepsi Co. wasn't quite sure how well these sugary drinks would actually sell. But lo and behold the public fell in love with the retro-flavor of the Throwback series which created enough demand for the company to produce several more batches until finally, in 2011, Pepsi Co. announced that the drinks would become a permanent addition to their line and could now be enjoyed by soft-drink fans everywhere - except of course in the ass-backward state I live in where you still have to hunt the stuff down. Following the success of the Throwback line, other companies have begun to introduce their own HFCS-free soft-drinks as well, such as Sierra Mist Natural, Heritage Dr. Pepper and 7-UP Retro, all made with real sugar. Viva la retro! Viva la naturale!

1 comment:

  1. And coincidentally, this year's drought will make the retro version cheaper to produce: