US trade body the Sugar Association has praised PepsiCo for launching two new "retro" soft drinks containing… sugar.
The beverages giant has introduced Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback in a bid to offer consumers what it describes as "a taste of the past." Inspired by the 1960s and '70s, the drinks went on sale on 20 April for an eight-week period.
The Sugar Association said the launches represented "a win-win for all," arguing: "The introduction of these two new products, using all natural sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup is a boon to local economies, supporting local sugar growers and processors. The sugar industry employs over 146,000 workers, contributes $10 billion to local economies and provides community support on the local level across the United States. And now, consumers will have a choice in beverages — drinks made with real, all-natural sugar, versus high fructose corn syrup."
Andy Briscoe, president and CEO of the Sugar Association, said: "While these products are only on the market shelves for an eight-week period, we are confident that the consumers will like the clean, crisp taste of Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback and encourage PepsiCo to continue with these two drinks. If consumers voice their approval for these two drinks by buying a few cases of each, then we are hopeful that PepsiCo will continue with these two and add other sugar-based drinks in their product line-up."
PepsiCo has indeed added another to its portfolio: a new premium cola, called Pepsi Natural, made with all-natural ingredients, including lightly sparkling water, natural sugar, natural caramel and kola nut extract.
In the UK, however, sugary soft drinks have come under fire from the bottled water industry. The Natural Hydration Council — which was set up by Danone Waters, Nestlé Waters and Highland Spring — has released a report claiming that Brits are drinking almost seven billion extra calories by replacing bottled water with sugary drinks.
It cites data showing that UK bottled water sales fell by 7% last year, but that 71% of that decline came from people buying other soft drinks instead. This switching, says the NHC, equates to pouring an extra 1,700 tonnes of sugar and 6.8 billion calories into the nation's diet — a factor it claims is contributing to the obesity epidemic.
The NHC said was "fighting back against recent public criticism" of bottled water — which usually centres on its environmental impact — with the launch of a new advertising campaign designed to illustrate the health advantages of water over sugary drinks. The commercials use the line: "You ought to drink more water" to highlight the physical and mental benefits of drinking water.
Jeremy Clarke, director of the NHC said: "The message is clear — when people turn away from bottled water, they don't turn on the tap instead. Rather they switch to sugary drinks. We only drink 100ml each of bottled and tap water each day — less than one cup out of the eight cups of fluid a day we're supposed to be drinking."