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Soda makers switching to sugar?

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In the 1980s, most major soda producers (and many food manufacturers) switched from using sugar as a sweetener to using high fructose corn syrup because it was both sweeter and cheaper than sugar. Due to the rising price of corn syrup, as well as increased consumer demand – primarily in the name of health – for sugar sweetened drinks, some manufacturers are considering a switch back to sugar. Others, like Jones Soda, have already done so.

As consumers, we don’t always have a choice when price is an issue, but let’s assume for a moment that all of our favorite drinks switch to sugar. Is this a good thing? If you have ever gone out to pick up extra packs of (kosher) Coke during Passover, when the sugar-sweetened version is put in stores, your answer is probably yes. But if you don’t like the taste of the version made with sugar, the possibility of a switch is less appealing.

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7 Comments
  • Jason
    June 13, 2007

    I think this is a bigger issue than it first appears. I’m reading “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan, and he really explains how complex this issue is. America produces so much corn that it’s got to go somewhere – hence ethanol, high fructose corn syrup, grain-fed cattle, etc… If major food companies like soda makers switch back to using sugar, that signals a big change in the way our entire food supply gets processed.

  • Jennywenny
    June 13, 2007

    I’m a little wary of this as I can imagine the soft drinks manufacturers making a big fuss about not using HFCS as being ‘healthier’ in the same way that eating a bucketload of trans-fat free donuts is healthier!

  • barbie2be
    June 13, 2007

    you haven’t lived until you have had dublin (Texas) dr pepper which is still made with imperial cane sugar. yummy!

  • spaceriqui
    June 13, 2007

    There’s also the question whether companies like Coke and Pepsi can switch all of their product. The volumes are so big now that switching to sugar is a huge undertaking and the there may not be enough sugar to support it.

  • DougOLis
    June 16, 2007

    Mexican Coke still uses sugar and you can buy it in some Costcos.

  • Barb
    June 28, 2007

    I live in San Diego, so my local Costco carries regular Coca Cola, and also a bottled version made in Mexico with real sugar. I’ll take the real sugar any day. I wish we always had this option. I figure when in doubt, real sugar, real butter, etc is always better than a chemical substitute.

  • Penelope Whitney
    July 23, 2008

    Sugar is a really big issue. Most farmers have been growing corn. Now, corn is getting to be very expensive so many companies are switching to sugar. However, China and India are starting to consume vast amounts of sugar and we are going to see a huge rise in the demand for sugar. If you want to learn more about sugar and how it is going have an immense impact on our world and our economy, check out http://www.SuperSugarStrategy.com
    We are in for interesting times. . .

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