Three New HFCS-Free Drinks From Pepsi

We already told you about Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback — now there’s Pepsi Natural.

BusinessWeek says Pepsi Natural “contains all-natural ingredients, including light sparkling water, natural sugar, natural caramel and kola nut extract.”

This sounds an awful lot like Pepsi “Raw” which has been available in the UK for awhile now.

Reuters says that Pepsi Natural “be will be sold in glass bottles in the premium or natural food aisles of stores in 10 markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle.”

Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback will be sold nationwide for two months starting on April 20.

Pepsi introduces drinks with natural sugar [Reuters]
Pepsi to roll out products with natural sugar [BusinessWeek]


Edit Your Comment

  1. N.RobertMoses says:

    Any idea how much more they will be charging?

  2. internal says:

    Made from the kola nut? Sounds like Like Cola! []

    • kc2idf says:

      @internal: Like totally.

    • ludwigk says:

      @internal: There are a number of cola beverages that do not contain kola nut.

      The main flavor components in most cola drinks are things like cassia, caramel, and citrus oils (hey all “c” words!).

      Kola is kind of herby, or medicinal, and can be a turn-off for some tasters. I like a real kola beverage every now and then, but I don’t think I’d enjoy it every time.

  3. KHook321 says:

    I wish Pepsi Natural would be sold in more places. I’d love to try it.

  4. SWBLOOPERS says:

    Do the TRUE Dew!!!

  5. idip says:

    Sounds interesting. I would buy it for the bottle.

  6. emona says:

    Natural caramel? Whaa?

    • Preyfar says:

      @emona: Caramel is mostly used to color the cola to its signature dark shade (generally seen as “caramel color”). It’s generally what makes a soda dark. :)

      • brokedickrooster says:

        @Preyfar: We know what the caramel is used for, but where in nature does one find this “natural caramel?”

        Caramel is usually produced by heating sugar to point of melting. Not from a caramel tree or a caramel mine or a caramel creek.

        • bohemian says:

          @brokedickrooster: I would guess a syrup of carmelized sugar rather than a chemical based brown dye they use in everything else. Natural is an unregulated term.

        • Preyfar says:

          @brokedickrooster: From Vermont Maple Cows, dude. Their all natural, organic caramel is what keeps Ben and Jerries in business (and still at 16oz per pint!).

        • ludwigk says:

          @brokedickrooster: Natural sugar + heat = natural caramel.

          Although the FDA does not have official guidelines for the use of the term “Natural”, it usually indicates that ingredients are harvested in some way from nature, as opposed to synthesized from base components.

          This can often lead to situations where the same flavoring component is available in both ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ form, but are the same molecule, only that the ‘natural’ version is several times more expensive to produce (and thus costs more), and is not quite as pure.

  7. Snarkysnake says:

    Well, they’ve managed to do it. Give them credit.
    After adulterating their formula with HFCS,the deep thinkers at Pepsi (and Coke etc.) have brought back the old ,pre HFCS Pepsi and have figured out how to charge more for it.
    Is this not a tacit admission that “regular” HFCS Pepsi tastes like crap ?

    Would appreciate it if any posters here have any kind of list of soft drink makers that have stayed true to their formula and are making a quality product.

    • dorianh49 says:

      @Snarkysnake: Boylan’s, Hank’s Premium, Hansen’s Cane Sugar Soda; just a few at the top of my head.

    • ludwigk says:

      @Snarkysnake: I don’t think this is any tacit admission of the sort.

      I think that Pepsi (and coke) have been complacent in going after the ‘mass market’ beverages for long enough, and now they want a piece of the highly lucrative speciality/premium soft drink market. Basically, its gotten too big (and made too much money) for the big boys to keep ignoring. I’m sure pepsi and coke already own some specialty beverage companies, but in this case, Pepsi is leveraging the power of their brand name directly to jump-start their efforts.

      I don’t know how ‘true to formula’ these companies are, but here are some specialty soft drinks that I like:

      Virgil’s Rootbeer and Cola
      Henry Weinhard’s Root beer and Cream Soda
      Goose Island Root beer and Orange Creme <– can be hard to find outside of chicago, but I once found it here in SF at Targets.

    • bohemian says:

      @Snarkysnake: Jones. Drinking a Jones cane cola as I write this.

    • Gann says:
    • trujunglist says:


      I highly recommend Boylan. I think the pure cane cola is decent, but the Boylan grape is fucking out of this world. Yeah, it really did require the use of a cussword to describe it. I haven’t had it in years and I am now salivating just thinking about it.
      Also, it tends to turn your poop bright green due to the purple in the soda and the yellow from…. which is a neat side effect.

    • MyopicRaiderfan says:

      A dr pepper bottler outside of dallas has kept their original formula.


    • TheGuinnessTooth says:

      @Snarkysnake: If you can find someplace in the US that sells Afri-Cola you will have tasted the greatest cola ever. Or just go to Germany and buy in bulk and return with it.

    • Mr. Gunn says:

      Snarkysnake: Do you know what HFCS stands for? Do you know what fructose is? Sucrose? Do you have any idea of the origins of the “corn syrup is teh debil!!!1” nonsense? Do you realize you’re being manipulated because you don’t know the answer to those questions?

  8. farcast says:

    From the helpful review: []

    Including the CRV, the traditional Pepsi 2-liter rang up at $1.89, while the four 12 fl oz bottles of Pepsi Natural set me back $4.69. Scale that, and you’ll find that regular runs $3.69 per gallon, while super-ultra-premium-natural goes for an astonishing $12.50 per gallon. $12.50 per gallon! For sugar water!

  9. noone1569 says:

    4:20 for the throwbacks . . really?

  10. Mr_D says:

    I saw this at Target a while back, and decided to check it out.

    Less fizzy, and less sweetness, and less cola flavor than stock Pepsi. Interesting for a change of pace, but not worth the $4.50/4 pack.

  11. full.tang.halo says:


    It gets scary when you scale things up to a well known reference point. Even more so when you figure a gallon of high test is running 2.09 here in FL. That’s a product that has to be found in the earth, drilled to, pumped out, put on an oil tanker, shipped to a refinery, refined, put on another ship or piped, to a distribution center, then put on a truck, shipped to a gas station and put in expensive underground leak-proof tanks. 2.09 a gallon, vs 12.50 for a gallon of water with some sugar and flavors…*I know that is an over simplification of pepsi but still, it gives you some pause*

  12. mastercha says:

    My fiance and I were in a Giant Eagle last night in Cleveland and we saw Pepsi Natural and were intrigued and bought a 4-pack. It’s not as sweet as regular Pepsi, so I like it.

  13. lalaland13 says:

    This sounds like something I would try when I want to indulge in a soda (I drink about 90 percent water or tea) but don’t want all the HCFS. Last time I had a real Pepsi I bloated up like a whale. Don’t know if this would help that, but it might be something to try.

  14. Megladon says:

    I’m living overseas now, and right on the pepsi bottle i drink in regular english it says sugar. As someone that drank pepsi back in the states, i cant really see a difference, but at the same time i dont have an American pepsi to compair it to.

  15. Thermopyle says:

    Now, if only all the recent non-industry sponsored studies hadn’t shown that HFCS isn’t any worse for you than regular sugar.

    • Thermopyle says:


      I forgot to include the source.


    • LandruBek says:

      @Thermopyle: Parsing error: too many negatives. Pumpkin head has teh stack overflow. Retrying…

      “worse” = HFCS bad.
      “isn’t worse” = HFCS good.
      “hadn’t shown [it] isn’t worse” = HFCS bad.
      “if only [they] hadn’t shown [it] isn’t worse” = HFCS good.

      So, you’re saying HFCS is basically OK?

    • Anonymous says:

      @Thermopyle: Actually, it is a fact that the body doesn’t recognize HFC as sugar or even as food, so your body doesn’t get the usual signal that you have “had enough”. As a result you consume much more than you would than if it had actual sugar in it, and since it does have calories, it packs on the pounds for ya. So it contributes to people being overweight, and that’s what makes it worse than sugar.

      And, quoting USA Today as a “source” is just lame.

      • Mr. Gunn says:

        ZekiGabrys: Care to source your “the body doesn’t recognize corn syrup as sugar” statement, then?

        There were some studies that showed a correlation between corn syrup and obesity, but more recent ones(which didn’t make the news, so you didn’t read them, who’s lame now?) have showed that there is no difference between that and regular sugar.

        If you need hand-holding to find this out, let me know.

        LandruBek: yes, that’s what he’s saying.

      • Thermopyle says:


        Instead of attacking the source, try reading the article for their sources.

        You may or may not be correct with your assertions about how the body handles HFCS, but, as the studies show, it apparently it doesn’t matter.

        • Thermopyle says:


          Well it looks like you can’t include links for some reason in comments…

          Try this (remove space):

          “tr. im/haGE”

  16. ohiomensch says:

    I miss coke in glass bottles. It tasted so different, better in glass than plastic.

    • roshambo says:

      @ohiomensch: I agree coke always tasted way better in the glass bottles. Not sure why it makes a difference but it sure did. Sadly when the companies agreed to cut waste by 50% it was on a per weight basis so the easiest way was to ditch the glass and move to plastic.

    • cadieg says:

      @ohiomensch: living in new mexico we have steady access to what we call “Mexican Coke” which is sold in the glass bottles and made with, you guessed it- SUGAR. it’s so much better than regular coca cola when you want your soda fix.

      • the_wiggle says:

        @cadieg: Mmmmmmm, Mexican Coke in glass bottles. jumped on that with both feet, hands & teeth; never going back to the HFCS dreck in a can. hre in az, burrito bandito has it by the bottle & sam’s club has it by the flat.

        now if only i could get sugared dr. pepper for my son. . . .

  17. nakedscience says:

    The fact that this starts on 4/20 is awesome.

    Also, I drink very little soda, so even if it is more expensive, I’d still buy it. It would be a nice treat.

  18. knightracer says:

    I got it at Target for 3.99 plus tax and CRV.

  19. Ratty says:

    We have it in Reno, which is not a “premium market” by any stretch. I checked the ingredients as well–not really natural. They have several kinds of gum in there, and “natural flavoring” that isn’t.

    I’d stick to hansen’s for cheaper, more natural sodas.

  20. Coles_Law says:

    @ Farcast. I don’t think it’s fair to compare a 2-liter to 4 20 oz. bottles-4 20 oz. bottles of normal Pepsi run about $4.00. Granted, the new stuff is only available in 20 oz., but still, apples to apples.

  21. "I Like Potatoes" says:

    Is this going to be the new trend now – “no hfcs”? I bought some Log Cabin pancake syrup the other day that advertised “Now – no high fructose corn syrup!” very prominently on the label. It will be interesting to see how many more companies start doing this.

    • Patrick Henry says:

      @changed my name:

      Everyone! I keep hearing how great soda tastes with real sugar, I’d love to see the companies ditch corn syrup altogether and go back to their original formula’s. It can’t be that much more expensive.

    • battra92 says:

      @changed my name: I hope many more. That log cabin is just a simple syrup (sugar and water) with maple favoring. Before it was corn syrup, water and maple flavoring. ;)

      • the_wiggle says:

        @battra92: that’s why if one wants genuine finger licking good maple syrup, one must buy the real deal. “flavored” fluids just don’t cut it.

    • trujunglist says:

      @changed my name:

      LOL @ maple syrup made out of corn.. I wonder how much business they lost because people suddenly became informed that high fructose CORN syrup is made from CORN and corn does not come out of trees

    • PencilSharp says:

      @changed my name: Feh. With corn prices surging due to the ethanol mandates, and a very vocal greek net chorus screeching about HFCS, why wouldn’t the Sugar Water Cabal actually offer sugar-sweetened water, especially for a premium…

      BTW, for anyone who can’t tell the difference, try making Kool-Aid with store-bought light corn syrup sometime…

      • Mr. Gunn says:

        PencilSharp: I heard that they’re using HFCS as a preservative in vaccines, and when they socialize health care they’re going make us all get them. Oh, the sweet, sweet, horror.

  22. edwardso says:

    @ratty: gums are natural (arabi, guar)

    • Ratty says:

      @edwardso: Nice as that is, they’re not necessary in making a soda. Good, quality natural sodas do without them. And they’re much less expensive!

      Hansen’s Mandarin Lime Natural Cane Soda
      Pure triple filtered carbonated water, cane sugar, citric acid, natural flavors with extracts of yucatan mandarin and colima lime

  23. bohemian says:

    1)Degrade your product with cheap ingredients until people complain.
    2)Release original product as a premium product.

    I am glad big producers are starting to at least get a clue that there is demand for things without HFCS in them, even if they do decide to charge more.

  24. ianmac47 says:

    Hmm, I might finally have to drink a pepsi.

  25. Corporate_guy says:

    Why is throwback only planned for 2 months? What is the point in even selling it?

    • HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

      @Corporate_guy: It’s called “test marketing”. They do it with most of their products. I remember when Mountain Dew Code Red was in the test marketing phase, and they also had a couple of other flavors: Live Wire (orange, tasted more like orange than most other orange sodas) and Pitch Black (grape, tasted like shit). Code Red was the only one to survive long term, which was sad, because I liked Live Wire.

      In other words, buy a whole bunch of the “throwbacks” and, hopefully, they’ll become a permanent part of the lineup.

  26. Jonathan Thomas says:

    I picked up a case of 4 for a little under $5 at target. I love this stuff! It tastes a bit more carmely than normal colas, but I don’t think it really tastes like pepsi at all.

  27. battra92 says:

    I’d love to try this. Of course, I’m such a Pepsi-fanboy that’s not a big surprise.

  28. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Yes because drinking soda is “natural” >_<

  29. Scoobatz says:

    Instead of being “artificially” being bad for you, it’s now “naturally” bad for you.

  30. vega480 says:

    I am waiting for Coke to bring back the original ingredients.

  31. majortom1029 says:

    I think I will just stick to Boylans . All there sodas are made from sugar not hfcs. They also have a good all natural line also.


  32. monkeybot says:

    I bought a 4-pack from Target (San Jose, CA) on Wednesday for $3.99 (already w/ price cut from $4.49).

    Ingredients as listed on the clear adhesive label:

    Water, Sugar, Natural Apple Extract (Color), Caramel Color, Citric Acid, Caffeine, Acacia Gum, Tartaric Acid, Lactic Acid, Natural Flavor, Kola Nut Extract

    The taste reminded me of sips of diet coke w/ whiskey that I used to sneak from my dad’s glass when I was little. Odd association, I know. Overall, it was alright- kind of like a weak-sauce Pepsi.

  33. Adam Newman says:

    I saw this at a Super Target in Chicagoland last weekend. So, it’s out there, at least some places.

  34. Gail Magidson says:

    To vega480: Coca Cola usually brings out their product using only real sugar during Passover (which is coming, I think, on March 10th this year). Look for the Kosher logo on the can or carton.

  35. Steve Tanner says:

    Pepsi Throwback is supposed to be the same price point as the HFCS versions. Pepsi Natural will be priced at a premium. Note the differences between the two drinks.

    I talked to a Pepsi rep today who noted that Pepsi Natural will be sweetened with a combination of cane & beet sugar (which is the same as the Throwbacks). Because of this, Pepsi Natural is NOT Kosher.

    Additionally, they mentioned that there is a LOT in common with the UK’s version of Pepsi Raw, but that there were differences.

    I compared the ingredients, calories, and caffeine counts over at BevReview if anyone is interested.


  36. Mikestan says:

    I like the glass bottle

  37. Mr. Guy says:

    sounds like the resurrection of Royal Crown Draft, the best mass-marketed cola I ever tasted.

  38. Yokai Monsters Spook Warfare says:

    @ Corporate Guy:

    Its a really common marketing technique. They will release it for long enough to do an advertising blitz, then just after word starts to get out they will take it off the market for another few months. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. It helps keep sales up for “fad” products – if they just left them on the market then sales would dramatically decrease once the novelty wore off.

    Pizza Hut is well known for doing this with different kinds of “speciality pizzas”.

  39. Boulderite says:

    farcast “traditional Pepsi 2-liter rang up at $1.89, while the four 12 fl oz bottles of Pepsi Natural set me back $4.69.”

    Buying soda in individual containers always costs more than buying it by the 2 liter. I bought a six pack of the 8 ounce cans of Pepsi for $2.89. So per gallon it is roughly $7.54

  40. Boulderite says:

    I like Coca Cola and will drink it occasionally, however I do prefer the Coke that I can find from Mexico, that is made with sugar. It just tastes better.

  41. HogwartsAlum says:

    I hate Pepsi, so I’m going looking for the Coke.

    The Goose Island root beer and grape soda someone mentioned shows up occasionally at ALDI’s. :) I have some in my fridge right now.

  42. Robobot says:

    Now if only they would start releasing diet sodas made with stevia instead of aspertame/Splenda. I will buy stock in the first company who releases a stevia-sweetened energy drink.

  43. drdom says:

    The throwback products, they’re only around for Passover. Nice window dressing. But every year near Passover time, Coke has always had Kosher product, made with real sugar. And many places here in the Chicago area have Mexican Coke, which is also made with no HFCS. Pepsi’s just now getting around to it.

    And as for some of the others, like Boylan, Jones, Hank’s and others, you can taste the difference. They are also much less likely to make you gain weight than HFCS products. Your body recognizes and knows how to metabolize natural sugars. Not as simple with HFCS.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Wonder if it’s possible for Pepsi or Coke to make their stuff without any sweetener whatsoever. Then you add your own sugar at home. It sucks that we can’t get Coke or Pepsi in the US with real sugar given that both companies got their start here before taking over the world.

  45. Joe Lachiana says:

    Pepsi or any soda in a plastic bottle isn’t worth drinking if it was free. Nasty.

  46. supergaijin says:

    We tried this and dubbed it “Pepsi Nasty”.

    It is *okay* if it’s chilled really well but as it starts to warm up, you get this really weird, unpleasant aftertaste that we couldn’t put our finger on. Love Kosher Coke/Kosher Dr. Pepper/Mexico Coke, but this is not like those. I guess I’ll wait for Pepsi/Mt. Dew throwback.

  47. Joe Zydeco says:

    Thomas’ English Muffins advertises NO HFCS! on their packaging now.

  48. WachoviaEmployee says:

    I’ve had both of the “Throwback” drinks (a Pepsi sales manager lived in my apartment before me and they keep sending delicious samples) and I can honestly say that they taste exactly the same as the HFCS drinks.

  49. LintySoul says:

    Why, oh why, would anyone pay for bubblie sugar water?

  50. cheesebubble says:


  51. Patches O'Houlihan says:

    And we wonder why Mexico and other countries use REAL sugar, not HFCS? Many of our food products cannot be sold in other countries because we use franken-foods like HFCS and GMO corn and soy. Good old US industry making a profit at the cost of safety!

  52. CornDoc says:

    There are so many falsehoods and half-truths in those three sentences I don’t know where to begin. Other countries use sucrose because it is more readily available than HFCS. The process is simpler to produce sucrose, but it is in no way cleaner than HFCS.

    Food products that contain corn as an ingredient are typically made from food-grade corn that are not GMOs. As far as safety, non-GMO corn is actually at a higher risk of carrying mycotoxins from fungi that make the recent peanut salmonella problems look like a hangnail. Food products made from corn by-products (HFCS, corn starch, etc.) likely use corn by-products made from GMOs. However, the production of said corn by-products involves a level of processing and purification to the point that immeasurable, miniscule amounts of genetic material (natural and introduced) or the proteins associated with the inserts actually make it into the final product.

  53. Chris Murphy says:

    My cynical view is that Pepsi will sell HFCS-free soda at a HUGE markup hoping to make big profits, while people are clamoring for it. This desire will fade because it’s so overpriced, and then they can go back to standard HFCS soda. Pepsi can then say, “well, we tried to give Americans a HFCS-free alternative, and the people wouldn’t buy it”.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  54. brbn_nattie says:


    Red Rock Golden Ginger Ale is…DELICIOUS. I love watching the expression on people’s faces when they take the first sip.

  55. mariospants says:

    Sounds expensive. Kolas are endangered and – as we all know – the males only have two nuts to give.

  56. vladthepaler says:

    I’ll try it if I see it.

  57. Dusty Wilson says:

    HFCS makes me terribly sick. Having more non-HFCS options is great! Even if it does cost a bit more… Make it in cans Pepsi!