February 21, 2009

In The News: Not-so-Extreme Makeover

The New York Times reports that Snapple is not only changing their tea's label font as well as the shape of their bottles -- they are also axing high fructose corn syrup and replacing it with sugar.

Although both sweeteners are equal from a caloric standpoint, high fructose corn syrup brings other issues to the table -- genetically modified crops, unbalanced farm subsidies, and such low prices for corn that it's no wonder you can get 24 more ounces of soda for two additional pennies!

What's most interesting is that Snapple is also slightly decreasing the sweetness of its tea.

"The old ingredient list for Lemon Snapple Iced Tea: “water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, tea, natural flavors.” Calories: 200.

The new ingredient list: “filtered water, sugar, citric acid, tea, natural flavors.” Calories: 160."

FYI: The above quote appears to suggest that sugar is less caloric than high fructose syrup. It's not. This new Snapple formula simply contains fewer grams of added sweeteners.

Unfortunately, thee lower-calorie news is counter-balanced by developments that bother me -- the new Snapple bottles have the words "All natural" and "Made from green & black tea leaves" in larger font.

Meanwhile, PepsiCo will roll out limited quantities of Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback in April.

The selling point? A notalgic logo and the replacement of high fructose corn syrup with sugar.

Although calories -- and sugar grams -- will go unchanged, at least mercury contamination won't be a concern.

By the way, Pepsi Throwback is not a brand new idea -- it takes several pages from England's Pepsi Raw.

The impetus behind all this? Easy -- company executives are seeing consumer backlash to high fructose corn syrup and this is one way to prevent profit margins from shrinking.

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