Beverage companies are launching more sodas and other drinks sweetened with cane sugar, to win consumer demand for clean labels and natural ingredients. Top 100-ranked (No. 1) PepsiCo is expanding its 1893 line of soda, inspired by the original cola formula created by its founder, Caleb Bradham, in 1893. "If you had asked me a few years ago, people were moving to diet sodas. Now, they view real sugar as good for you," says PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi.
The real-sugar 1893 soda was originally launched during the NACS show in October, after selling in a limited fountain test last summer. Available in Original and Ginger Cola, 1893 blends premium kola nut extract, real sugar and sparkling water for a "unique and unexpected cola experience," and can be used in cocktails, the Purchase, N.Y., -based company's marketing group suggests.
"We were energized by the food revolution and inspired by consumer interest in bold and interesting taste combinations, says Chad Stubbs, vice president of marketing, Pepsi Trademark. The brand's new distinctive 12-oz. slim, tall cans feature minimal graphics, and will be merchandized where other Pepsi products are sold. Pepsi Made with Real Sugar launched in 2014, when the company launched Caleb’s Kola, also made with sugar. Last summer, it introduced a line of fountain drinks called Stubborn Soda, sweetened with sugar, for restaurants.
PepsiCo is not alone in trying to boost sagging soda sales with real sugar as an appeal to all things natural. To name a few, Boylan Bottling Co.’s dozen soda flavors tout “cane sugar” in capital letters on the label. Puck’s fountain sodas, available at restaurant chains in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., are said to be made with "bagged sugar from cane," according to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal. And Arizona Beverages' launch of Good Brew select teas are "blended to perfection with real sugar."