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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Dancing in the Dark

by on Mar.29, 2009, under environment, family, home & stuff

Despite the images this title may conjure (whether you know who Bruce Springsteen is or not), I’m referring to how my family participated in the Earth Hour.  If you are not aware of what Earth Hour is, it is an environmental awareness initiative where anyone who interested in participating would turn off their lights and any non-essential electronics from 8:30 to 9:30 PM on Saturday local time (obviously this time-frame has passed here, but there may be areas where this hasn’t by the time this is read).  We made a slumber party out of it. (continue reading…)

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It’s Not Easy Being Green

by on Aug.27, 2008, under environment, family, politics

As I sit here watching Bill Clinton and John Kerry talking about the problems of today and the direction we need to go moving forward, certain elements strike a chord.  Most of them relate to green – namely the environment and the economy – and they both relate to struggles I see in my own life.  As they speak about our role as a nation in steering the world towards a more Earth-friendly lifestyle, I think about my own efforts to be conscious of my ecological footprint.  Ans as they speak about the downturn in jobs and wages in our nation during Bush’s reign, I can’t help but think of my own past and present struggles. (continue reading…)

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by on Jul.31, 2008, under comics, environment, movies, TV

I finally made it out to see “Dark Knight” (see my prior post to read more about my delays in getting to the theater).  My sister-in-law volunteered to babysit the kids for the evening so my wife and I could step out on a date.  And what better date for a couple married over 11 years than one that involves very little conversation (sorry, dear – the joke was there).  She wanted to see it as much as I did, so it was a welcome retreat for both of us.  Though after seeing it, I think she isn’t sure it was the retreat she had hoped for. (continue reading…)

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by on Jul.21, 2008, under environment, movies

A few weeks ago I took my kids to see the latest Disney/Pixar production, Wall-E.  As was to be expected, it was amazing – stellar CG work combined with a heart-warming story that both kids and adults can enjoy.  But I can’t help but continue to ponder the sub-text of this film (I will do my best not to ruin the movie for those who haven’t seen it yet, but procede with caution).

The setting of the movie is Earth some 800 years in the future.  And what we find is a landscape riddled with garbage.  And it would seem that the failure of society to avoid such a fate is directly tied to the success of american consumerism.  And what is truly scary about this nihilistic outlook is that it may not be much of an exaggeration. (continue reading…)

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