A Throwback to Good Taste

by on May.03, 2009, under environment, health

I am partaking in a flavor blast from the past, and I hope it is a sign of beverage future.  Specifically I’m currently drinking a 20 fl. oz. bottle of Pepsi Throwback.  This seemingly retro beverage is a version of Pepsi made with natural sugar (I assume as opposed to high-fructose corn syrup).

This choice in beverages was no accidental happenstance, but a conscious choice to taste-test this product.  I first became aware of it a few days ago while watching NBC’s Thursday-night comedy line-up.  Pepsi had this spot for it during The Office that was all retro-ish (complete with some Isaac Hayes knock-off singing its praises).  By the time the commercial was over, I knew I would have to try it.

I know what you are thinking – that I am some sort of uber-gullible consumer that can be wooed by a catchy jingle and a shallow promise.  Not so!  See, I have in the past years become a strong opponent to artificial food products in favor of more natural/organic/raw foods.  And if I was mildly wealthy, I’d certainly be spending a good amount of that money buying only the most healthy and natural foods and drinks available.  But being as I don’t have the time or the means to do so, I make the conscious purchasing decisions I can afford.  And among the items that I avoid as much as possible are any sweetners other than natural sugars – no aspartame, no sucralose, no acesulfame potassium, no Stevia, and no high-fructose corn syrup (the latter being the most difficult to avoid).  Most of this battle tends to revolve around beverages – specifically sodas – as it is somewhat easier to find food items that are more natural and what you can’t find you can make (to a degree).  But I’m a working stiff and I’ve never been a big fan of straight water, so I try to find drinks that I like that come as close to natural as I can without costing too much.

So, as I said, I was quite eager not only to see how this new/retro Pepsi product tasted, but also to see it succeed in the market.  While the commercial seemed to suggest that it was a limited time item, I for one hope that it is the start of a trend.  See, there is a rift right now in America between health-consciousness and convenience.  Those who want to swear off such artificial items as those found in a regular Pepsi have to look harder to find them and then usually pay a premium for them when they do.  But if more of the big companies (hint-hint) started to make healthy variations on their products, then by simple market penetration they would be more accessible.  And such accessibility will lead to higher conversion and a tide of greater demand for such products.  But no matter how many hints I drop, the best way to point this out to the big food-makers is to show them there is a market.  So I for one plan to buy as much of this stuff as I can and I encourage all of you to consider doing so as well.

How does Pepsi Throwback taste, you ask?  It tastes like Pepsi – not particularly more or less sweet.  Maybe even a little cleaner taste than a standard Pepsi.  It is also satisfying to turn the bottle around and see only 6 ingredients: carbonated water, sugar, caramel color, phosporic acid, caffeine, and natural flavor.  I’ve got a couple of oz. left.  And when I’m done, I plan to recycle the bottle.  It does kind of feel like a sip of history, but not necessarily in the sense they may have intended.

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