Pepsi Has The Balls To Say What Coke Won't: HFCS Doesn't Taste Exactly The Same As Sugar

A few weeks back, Coca-Cola informed us that there is no distinguishable difference in taste between Coke made with High-Fructose Corn Syrup and Coke made with cane sugar. But when we asked the people at Pepsi the same question, they had a very different answer.

Says a rep for Pepsi to Consumerist:

We do believe there is a taste difference between HFCS and sucrose. While some consumers do not taste a difference, others express a preference for one or the other. Millions of consumers love Pepsi the way it is made today — with HFCS — and we know that products like Pepsi Throwback, Mountain Dew Throwback and, now Sierra Mist Natural, which are sweetened with sucrose have devoted followings.

Without getting into the hotly debated topic of whether or not HFCS is any worse for consumers than sucrose, the rep did say that people are buying the real-sugar products for a variety of reasons: “Some consumers prefer sucrose for taste reasons, others for nostalgia reasons or because they think of it as a more natural sweetener option,” she said.

As for the continued and future availability of the Throwback beverages, the rep tells Consumerist, “Both Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback have traditionally been ‘limited time offer’ products — available for only a few weeks at a time. Due to consumer demand we have extended their availability and brought them back a few times. For next year we’ve already made plans to bring them back, but availability may change due to a variety of factors including regional popularity and retail space.”

We also asked why, in places like New York City, it’s often easier to find Throwback drinks in small corner stores than it is at larger, chain groceries. The rep explained that it’s likely due to local bottlers and distributors finding these stores more willing to purchase and try out small quantities of the relatively new products.


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  1. danmac says:

    It’s no surprise that Pepsi would make this claim, considering they’ve invested significant capital into a “throwback” campaign that happens to include no-HFCS versions of Pepsi and Mountain Dew. Coincidence? I think not.

    • rpm773 says:

      Heh. Yeah, really. Just like in 1985 how Pepsi had the balls to say it tastes better than Coke, and to even go so far as to “challenge” Coke to a “taste test”.


      • El_Fez says:

        But in this case – they’re right. I cant stand non-mexican coke. Throwback? I’ll drink that stuff all day long.

        Now if only they had Pepsi Natural. . .

        • danmac says:

          Oh, I agree that they’re right; I was just pointing out that in addition to being right, they have a large financial incentive for making the claim.

        • dorianh49 says:

          OMG. I’ve been looking for Pepsi Natural for over a year now. It’s gone for good, isn’t it? sniff

          • SolidSquid says:

            I just got back from Chicago and saw it in a few places there, including vending machines. Seems it’s still available in some areas

        • Bohemian says:

          Pepsi throwback is made with sugar. There was also a limited release of something called Pepsi Natural that was only sold in bottles like gourmet bottled drinks. I have not been able to find any of that but I can find Pepsi throwback most of the time.

          Coke screwed themselves by refusing to come out with a sugar option. We used to stock up on Passover Coke when we were somewhere civilized in the spring since they don’t sell it where we live. Coke’s refusal to offer a sugar option that is easy to find just threw us over to Pepsi. I blame throwback for starting to drink soda again dammit.

      • craptastico says:

        it’s widely known that was kind of a scam. pepsi is sweeter so tests better if you’re only drinking a sip. Pepsi used that to their advantage. the Pepsi marketers from back then said as much.

    • invisibelle says:

      +1. There’s no way Pepsi could make the same claim since they have these products out on the market.

      As someone who used to work for one of Pepsi’s main ad agencies, I’m actually surprised at how good their PR response was.

  2. maubs says:

    I thought the Throwback versions were extended indefinitely. I’ve exhausted my only source (a local gas station) and have been searching for weeks for more.

    • colorisnteverything says:

      The sam’s here in town has throwback. It is cheap, too. That and the Dollar General. Apparently, it is a popular item.

    • Grogey says:

      My local walmart has it but the local Price Chopper doesn’t. Have yet to check out Tops.

    • namcam says:

      lucky you, cant find it anywhere!!!!

    • Salty Johnson says:

      My store has a seemingly-infinite supply of Throwback… bottles and cans….. unfortunately I can’t find any Heritage Dr Pepper lately :(

    • joako says:

      Have you tried calling your local bottler and asking? I’ve called Coca-Cola bottler before to ask where KFP Coca-Cola was being sold and they were glad to help.

    • lifestar says:

      Have you tried the discounter stores like Costco, BJs, Sam’s club? I usually get my sucrose drinks(Mexican coke too!) from Costco. They’ve had throwback a couple of times too.

  3. Supes says:

    Nice to see them say it, but not like they didn’t have a reason. Every press release is calculating and self-serving… this this case promoting Throwback while also disparaging Coke’s claim that they’re the same.

    • Gulliver says:

      That does not make it any less true. In fact, throwback is NOT available year round. They are basically saying enough of the population can taste the difference to influence buying behavior. Jones soda dumped HFCS and switched exclusively to sucrose. They announced it. It is not a cost savings tool like coke is doing saying there is no difference.

    • BStu78 says:

      Yeah, but its true. I don’t get this whole “Well, of course they’d say that” reaction. Maybe, but its also true. Doesn’t that sort of trump any desire to be suspicious or corporations. The truth may benefit them, but its still the truth.

      I prefer HFCS Pepsi and Sugarfied Mountain Dew. I also prefer Mountain Dew that is called Mountain Dew and not Mnt Dw or whatever it is now. I do wish they stuck with the first iteration of Dew Throwback packaging, though.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        And if no one told you that your current beverage had one sweetener or the other, you wouldn’t know the difference.

        They’ve tested this. For decades. People only “taste” a difference when they’re told one way or the other.

        Same with bottled water. Local tap water consistently blind-tests as “better tasting” than bottled water, but if you outright *ask* someone whether “bottled water” or “tap water” tastes better, they’ll say “bottled.”

        • Conformist138 says:

          Well, that’s a tough one. The water, that is. I live in Portland, we have delicious tap water (assuming you don’t have nasty pipes, which a basic filter can deal with). But, when I go to california, hell no- bottled water all the way cuz tap down there always tastes like butt. So, tap water is *extremely* subjective.

          As for the HFCS vs Sugar… I see a taste test in my future. I need some regular pepsi, pepsi throwback, regular coke, and mexican coke… and my roommates as guinea pigs.

  4. dwtomek says:

    There are seriously people that can’t taste the difference? I feel sorry for what I can only assume would be their more narrow pallet of taste. Honestly. Not to say that I think the throwback tastes better, it makes me pretty sick pretty quickly.

    • sp00nix says:

      Agreed. I can taste it, and i cant get through a 20oz bottle without feeling ooey gooey inside.

      • ceriphim says:

        I find that drink less mexican Coke but enjoy it more than the HFCS stuff. I feel full after drinking a bottle with lunch whereas not so much with regular Coke.

        That’s the beauty of my body telling me it’s full of sucrose and enough is enough…

        • Clumber says:

          Exactly. * I enjoy mexicoke FAR more than regular (in fact I can’t even drink regular anymore) but I drink less of it. Throwback pepsi the same, can’t stand any variety of Mtn Dew, and Throwback DP I can take or leave.

          *Single anecdotal submission only; not intended to substitute for real data with a real sample size; your mileage may vary; not intended to diagnose, treat, or cause disease; if you are drinking Mexicoke for more than 4 hours, please contact your doctor immediately as this could cause permanent injury.

    • paulthegeek says:

      I can absolutely tell the difference.

      In an effort to silence an obnoxiously skeptical co-worker, I did a blind taste-test. 10 out of 10 times, I correctly identified Pepsi Throwback over Pepsi, and Mexican Coke (sometimes known as Kosher Coke) over regular Coke.

      Yeah, a lot of effort just to make a point, but the guy was really being a taint about it.

      • SabreDC says:

        I’d venture a guess that the recipe for Throwback and regular Pepsi are not 100% the same, sans sweetener.

        • TouchMyMonkey says:

          They probably had to tweak the recipe to allow the use of HFCS. So if you’re suggesting that Throwback is the same product we used to drink as kids, you’re right.

          And I just love me some Sierra Mist Natural. It’s “cleaner”, with a more pronounced lemon flavor.

          • SabreDC says:

            I’m just saying that just because someone can taste the difference between Throwback and regular Pepsi doesn’t mean that they can taste the difference between sugar and HFCS.

          • Sparkstalker says:

            Even better is the Cranberry Sierra Mist…fantastic stuff.

      • Emperor Norton I says:

        All Coke is kosher, but only Coke with sugar is kosher for Passover.

    • crashfrog says:

      I’m actually a supertaster and I can’t taste the difference. Some can, I guess, but I can’t, but it doesn’t seem to have any other consequences for my taste palate. Why would it?

      • nybiker says:

        Thank you for the correct use of palate. I was wondering what his narrow skid had to do with tasting things.

      • d0x360 says:

        crashfrog you are not a supertaster if you cant taste the difference. The difference is pretty big.

        • crashfrog says:

          And what is that difference, exactly?

          Look, I’m taking your word that you can taste the difference, but frankly I’m skeptical. You might as well be claiming to be able to see into the infrared. I mean, it’s possible but unlikely. And what tests have you done? If you think being able to tell the difference between Mexican and American Coke is somehow the same thing, you missed today’s story that Mexican Coke is HFCS, too.

          Get some corn syrup and some sucrose, dissolve in plain water at various concentrations, and tell me the minimum concentration before you’re able to discern the difference in a blinded, nose-pinched taste test at least 80% of the time – then I’ll believe you can taste the difference. Of course, under these conditions, not even verified supertasters could reliably detect a difference in flavor at anything but absurd concentrations, and that was explained as a detectable difference in viscosity, not flavor.

          • Apeweek says:

            You hit the nail on the head – it is primarily a difference in viscosity that I notice. The “throwback” versions leave less of a slimy afterfeel in my mouth after I swig, and this affects the aftertaste as well.

      • Chaosium says:

        “I’m actually a supertaster and I can’t taste the difference.”

        No, you aren’t. You’re a fussy eater. Your pickiness does not make you a more apt taster.

    • Difdi says:

      Finely powered sugar and granulated sugar are exactly the same chemically, yet most people notice differences in taste. Why wouldn’t they notice differences between things that are actually chermically different?

  5. lalaland13 says:

    Good for them for admitting it. It does sort of make me want to switch from Coke Zero to Pepsi Max, but since neither are made with HFCS, that kind of defeats the purpose. Plus, Coke Zero is amazing. Pepsi Max isn’t bad, either, and way better than that awful Diet Pepsi.

    • NoThankYou says:

      I agree. Coke Zero is great, but with this latest Pepsi move I would love to support them.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      OMG how dare you put down my diet pepsi!! I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN.

      / homicidal rant.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      I love Pepsi Max and 2nd is Coke Zero. Hate diet coke! When I was I kid, I could never drink these kinds of drinks. Well, you live and learn.

    • LastError says:

      Pepsi One is sort of the improved version of Diet Pepsi. But Pepsi One is all but abandoned now.
      Pepsi One is the true competitor to Coke Zero.

      Pepsi Max is getting all the attention but the truth is, it’s not the same kind of drink. The ginseng in it makes it “something else” besides a diet cola. Almost an energy drink. And it’s still full of aspartame.

  6. isileth says:

    I never liked Pepsi and where I live we have few choices because it never really had success.
    On the other hand, I agree with them, because different sweeteners produce a different taste.
    If you use honey to sweeten tea or milk, it tastes differently, as well as you use fructose, cane sugar or beet sugar (that in Europe is more common).
    No-sugar sodas are in my opinion too sweet and I don’t like them.
    As regards the problems or threats to health of each sweetener, I have always had the suspect (a really heavy one) that the results vary with regard to the people who commissioned the study.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      “…cane sugar or beet sugar (that in Europe is more common).”

      Isn’t it the other way around? Isn’t beet sugar the norm, by a very wide margin, in the USA?

      • isileth says:

        As a matter of fact I haven’t the data, I just thought it was like that.
        When I was in the USA I only saw cane sugar, but it might have been the places where I went and I wasn’t there enough to produce a statistic.

      • LadyTL says:

        I think beet sugar is mostly used in prepared products as the sugar ingredient unless it says cane sugar.

  7. Copper says:

    I hope you’re reading this Pepsi – please send Mountain Dew throwback to the HEBs in Corpus Christi. Thank you.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      And please continue to make both “Throwback” sodas indefinitely. It is all I buy now.

    • Nighthawke says:

      Welcome fellow South Texan!

      Oh, and check your local small corner stores, not the huge HEB’s. Sunrise Market has the Throwback family in the reach in coolers.

    • Mike says:

      Make that HEBs everywhere!

    • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

      Whoa cool 361 REPRESENT!!!!

      Yeah yeah, soda blah blah, what I REALLY want is more grocery store options than just HEB or Walmart. I don’t set foot in Walmarts on principle, and I like HEB, but some competition would be nice. And I would kill for a Costco. Did the HEB cabal go break the kneecaps of other grocery chains when they eyed this market, or something?

      (End of off-topic rant.)

    • AndroidHumanoid says:

      We have them here at a few HEB’s in San Antonio! Come on up for a weekend trip, and get your MD Throwbacks!

  8. Darkrose says:

    I can taste a difference. I love Pepsi throwback and very strongly dislike regular Pepsi.

  9. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Kudos to Pepsi. Even if it wasn’t true, they are taking an innovative approach to try to differenciate themselves from Coke.

  10. cheviot says:

    You know, Years ago I used to believe there was no difference. Then a co-worker and Coke fanatic heard I couldn’t tell the difference. He brought be two cans of Coke from different bottlers in a brown bag and asked me to try both.

    One easily won the taste test, but it was very hard to describe the difference in flavor. The winner? Sugar. Losing was the HFCS.

    • craptastico says:

      i did a similar taste test a year ago and between the 4 of us, nobody could really tell a differece. if you can, then more power to you get what you prefer.

    • jesirose says:

      why from different bottlers? Can you get both versions from the same bottler?

      I can’t even tell diet vs. non diet, so I drink diet. So…I don’t really care about all this HFCS crap. And no, I’m not going to get cancer from the aspartame or whatever.

      • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

        Bless you for being able to not tell a difference. Diet cola makes me want to vomit because of the aftertaste. This, of course, because I don’t regularly drink diet.

      • cheviot says:

        This was a few years ago. The Philadelphia Coke bottler used HFCS while Coatesville still used sugar.

    • invisibelle says:

      I agree that it’s hard to pinpoint the difference. I think the sugar one is actually both more tart and sweeter… but beyond that it’s almost like a texture/consistency difference, as weird as that is to say about a beverage.

  11. FrugalFreak says:

    “We also asked why, in places like New York City, it’s often easier to find Throwback drinks in small corner stores than it is at larger, chain groceries. The rep explained that it’s likely due to local bottlers and distributors finding these stores more willing to purchase and try out small quantities of the relatively new products.”

    There is more profit in a 0 oz than a 3 liter. I don’t believe the spokesman statement.

    • ARP says:

      Isn’t it also because it’s (more) Kosher? I think the theory is that during the processing of HFCS, that it may undergo some amount of fermentation. I imagine that people become accustomed to the taste during passover and then they just keep drinking it.

    • TheMonkeyKing says:

      The rep may be right. Space profitability does not scale. A six pack sold at a large or super grocery store has a different profit margin than a small store. For a large store, it may be seen as a risky venture to allocate an equal amount of space for the new product (which would reduce the space of the existing product by about half).

      If a large store wants to try something out at in a smaller amount, it usually gets a rebate or reduced cost by the vendor. Small amounts in a large store usually charge a higher premium (example: IBC rootbeer costs more than a pepsi six pack).

    • stevegoz1 says:

      I think part of this may also be a matter of large stores having higher product turnover than corner stores. If Throwback is available for three weeks, then the large stores will sell out of it shortly after those three weeks end, while smaller stores will have it on the shelves longer.

      I know this happens in my area of the Chicago ‘burbs.

  12. econobiker says:

    I did a personal taste test between Pepsi current and throwback. I found that the HFCS version smelt more and tasted more intense versus the original. This is good or bad depending on how you think about it. I’d go with the sugar version when I can afford it. Otherwise Publix brand HFCS cola (regular and decaf) all the way for me at about 79¢ a bottle…

  13. vastrightwing says:

    I can’t initially taste the difference between HFCS and sugar, but I can sure tell just minutes later. HFCS leaves a heavy after taste, sugar not. HFCS gives me a ferocious headache 10 mins. later. Sugar doesn’t. HFCS makes me feel tired, not sugar. So, sure, HFCS isn’t easy for me to initial taste, but I can sure tell which sweetener a soda uses very quickly.

    • Groanan says:

      I can agree with you and others about the taste difference, but as far as the physical reaction difference in the body biologically, I have a hard time understanding why the fructose/glucose combination in HFCS is different than that in cane sugar.

      Google has told me that Sucrose is made of 50% fructose and 50% glucose, whereas high-fructose corn syrup can be either 55% fructose, 45% glucose, or 42% fructose, 58% glucose.

      If this is true, is that much of a disparity, though enough to change the taste, enough to cause headaches / nausea? Any biochemists able to chime in?

      • Sparkstalker says:

        Anecdotal evidence – I had a co-worker one time who was apparently allergic to all things corn. So no sodas for him, no chips at the Mexican joint, nothing. Gave him the same symptom – a raging headache shortly after ingestion. So in vastrightwing’s case, it may be something similar – not the ratio difference, but the fact that it comes from corn instead…

        • Groanan says:

          That makes a good amount of sense then; I was thinking that perhaps there was an additional change in the recipes, aside the sugar used.

          Reading up on corn allergies… I think I might stay away from corn for two weeks just to check if my own joints / headaches get better.

  14. NumberSix says:

    I really wanted to like the Mountain Dew Throwback, but it had an odd taste. “Peppery” for lack of a better word.

    • Jeff says: "WTF could you have been thinking?" says:

      My thoughts exactly. Its not like I remember it.

    • rpm773 says:

      Us high-society types call that “Piquant”.

      N shit.

    • jshier says:

      Maybe I got a bad bottle, but I thought it tasted like flat HFCS Mt. Dew. Bit sweeter, but no tang.

    • PencilSharp says:

      You might want to double check the expiration date on that soda. Had the exact same experience with a can of regular Pepsi… Tasted just like ground pepper. It was two months past its expiration date. Swapped it out at the shop I bought it from. Always check the dates!

  15. Powerlurker says:

    The big difference, as far as I can tell, is that the Throwback versions are made less sweet than their normal counterparts. With Mountian Dew Throwback, it lets you really taste the citrus in it.

  16. Karita says:

    I can definitely taste the difference. My ex was a soda fanatic. I’m not fond of any drinks that contain any sugar of any sort, but I could drink his soda if I was desperate. He bought some of the throwback sodas once, and I decided to try them. I couldn’t get past the first sip. I don’t know what the difference was, but I hated it.

  17. ogremustcrush says:

    If I had to describe the taste difference between throwback and regular pepsi, I’d say that throwback has more of a crisp taste that trails off quickly, while regular pepsi has more of a sticky wave of a taste that trails off much more slowly. I also kind of think the HFCS tastes a tad bit metallic in cola drinks.

  18. rahntwo says:

    What’s the big deal? They both taste like chicken to me.

  19. Buckus says:

    I’m waiting for Crystal Pepsi Throwback…waiting…waiting…waiting…come on already!

    • The cake is a lie! says:

      lol I remember Crystal Pepsi. I bought a bottle on ebay a few years ago for my best friend who loved it. I actually didn’t like it very much. It tasted like flat Pepsi that had been re-carbonated. He still has his bottle on display though. It has been getting more and more yellow as time goes by…

  20. Burzmali says:

    Thanks to throwback mountain dew, I learned why diet mountain dew tastes so bad: diet and throwback taste almost exactly the same. Apparently the HFCS makes mountain dew bearable.

  21. Wasabe says:

    Some can tell the difference, some can’t. The ad is self-serving either way.

  22. GMFish says:

    Pepsi Has The Balls To Say What Coke Won’t: HFCS Doesn’t Taste Exactly The Same As Sugar

    No, it didn’t. Pepsi said nothing about its opinion on the matter. And no spokesperson from Pepsi gave an opinion. What Pepsi said was that some customers have a preference for the sugared products over the HFCS products. That’s basically the same thing Coke said. Coke’s solution to that preference was to have customers drink the version imported from Mexico.

  23. Brian Cooks says:

    Sierra Mist Natural is delicious. Mountain Dew Throwback tastes incredible. Pepsi I could take it or leave it. I’m glad Pepsi has agreed to keep them around. I may only drink one or two a week but it’s nice to have the choice.

    I do prefer mexican coke for my rum and cokes, even at $2-3 a bottle.

    • dorianh49 says:

      Wow. They’ve been 10 for $10 at Albertson’s for awhile, and you can get them at Costco in an 18-bottle case for about a dollar a bottle, too. $2-$3 sounds like highway robbery. Sorry about that :(

      • Benjamin says:

        My Costco has them for 75 cents a bottle, but I do only live about fifty miles away from the border.

        • mrhappydude says:

          $1.50 for it in my local grocery store in omaha, i get about 1 a week for rum(appleton FTW) and coke, tried throwback and rum , not the same

    • scratchie says:

      Real Coke is definitely the best for a rum & coke. I think the fact that you have two cane sugar products together produces a real “resonance” in the taste. I buy a few bottles at my local deli every once in a while for $1.50 or $1.59. I’m sure I could get it cheaper at Costco but I like to keep it as an occasional treat, as it’s something that I could get way too fond of. On the plus side, I can barely stand to drink HCFS Coke, so it’s removed that temptation altogether.

    • mharris127 says:

      $2-$3 a bottle for Mexican Coke? I can buy it for 99 cents a bottle (along with orange pop from Mexico in glass bottles at the same price) at my local small-town grocery store. It comes complete with the writing in Spanish. Surprisingly for a town with few Mexican inhabitants, it sold out relatively quickly, even though people couldn’t read the labels other than it had the Coke logo on it.

  24. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Well, the fact that they use different formulas for sucrose vs. HFCS sweetened sodas also explains the taste difference. That’s why the first version of MD throwback stunk. They didn’t add in orange juice, and it was horrible.

  25. ubermex says:

    When are they making Pepsi Quantum?

  26. Damocles57 says:

    The varied comments on sugar vs. HFCS vs. Coke vs. Pepsi vs. Mt. Dew, etc. all highlight the challenges that food and drink manufacturers face: things taste different to different people.

    Rather than making the issue one of “My soda beats your soda” or “My soda flavor with the following ingredients is the One True Soda,” it seems we should find what we like and leave it at that. Beyond the sugar vs. HFCS issue, what about all the other things in the brown liquid (or urine-colored Mtn. Dew) that might cause us health issues? Or we could just accept that fact that anything we buy has been designed to appeal to the largest group of people and return the most profit to the makers?

    I have no problem with Pepsi or Coke trying to maximize their profits – that is what they are in business to do and selling sodas of varying flavors is how they do it. Advertising by its nature and intent is self-serving. Each consumer who opts to buy something at a lower price is self-serving by attempting to minimize personal costs while maximizing personal value.

    • Groanan says:

      We don’t have to worry about the other things in the sugar salt water, it is the sugar, the fructose that is in both High Fructose Corn Syrup, and in table sugar (Sucrose), which is unhealthy for us (well that and the salt).

      Fructose is unhealthy because it does not provide us any benefit to our bodies (like a nutrient could), and because it is processed only by our livers (putting a strain on our livers depending on how much we are having our liver process and what else our livers are doing at the time).

      Does everyone know how unhealthy the amount of sugar we ingest is? I think that on one hand we all do, but on the other advertisements and everyday life makes it seem trivial, just as smoking cigarettes seemed trivial a century ago even though common sense told people it wasn’t healthy (the coughing is a dead give-away). Soda is seen as safe for children, and generally, it is probably a lot safer than driving or school sports.

      The HFCS/Cane Sugar debate does overlook the health concern, and has us arguing over what poison tastes better; but if we all know it is poison shouldn’t we be interested in getting the best enjoyment out of it?

  27. ohiomensch says:

    In the Northeast Ohio area, Coke has quietly replaced HFCS with Sucrose. No drama, no throwbacks, just real sugar in the Coke. Another thing I have noticed since Costco started selling cases of Mexican Coke here: Coke in glass, 100x better than coke in plastic or metal.

  28. BrooklynKnight says:

    I have a pretty sensitive tongue and I can tell you that there is certainly a major difference in taste between HFCS and Sugar and I’ll choose Sugar every time.

  29. chaelyc says:

    There’s definitely a difference. Definitely. It’s not so radical that it’s worth calling it by a different name, but it’s noticeable if you were to taste them side-by-side.

  30. smbizowner says:

    here it is.

    All of us with a sweet tooth have a keen appreciation for sugar. But few of us realize that the United States is the world’s fourth-largest producer of sugar (after Brazil, India, and the European Union), or that more than half of U.S. sugar production comes from sugar beets. (Most of the rest comes from sugarcane.) U.S. sugar beet production has grown significantly over the past decade, tied primarily to expanded processing capacity among sugar beet factories. U.S. farmers produced 33 million tons of sugar beets on 1.6 million acres in 2000, versus 28 million tons of sugar beets on 1.4 million acres in 1990. Most sugar beets were processed in 26 factories near production areas to minimize transportation costs and deterioration of sugar content.

    U.S. sugar beets are generally grown in areas with cooler climates; the Red River Valley (in western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota) is the largest and fastest-growing sugar beet-producing region, accounting for nearly half of U.S. total beet acreage in 2000. The Pacific Northwest, Great Plains, and Great Lakes regions also have substantial sugar beet production. However, some sugar beets are grown in warmer climates like the Imperial Valley of California.

    numbers are from 2005, so number most likely have changed slightly. Easter Michigan has a big sugar beet production area.

  31. CapitalC says:

    Come to Canada, we’ve been using sugar forever and our Pepsi tastes just fine.

    Trust Americans to get hooked on HFCS. ;)

  32. Rocket says:

    Mountain Dew throwback is delicious!

  33. MrEvil says:

    Dew Throwback is pretty damned good. Wish they made White Out with sugar. Seriously I can’t wait until February when Mt Dew White Out joins the regular lineup. Seriously it’s the best Mt Dew variety yet.

  34. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Pepsi and Coke will sell whatever the public wants. If there was a market for soda spiked with Tabasco or chicken then they would sell that. Apparently they are not yet convinced that there is a large enough market for non-HFCS to make it profitable & worth the expense.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      eventually someone will start a petition [if there isn’t already one somewhere on the web] and it will gain momentum and get sent to pepsi and coke. in the face of so much consumer pressure they might actually go for it

  35. TacomaRogue says:

    I love the Sierra Mist Natural, it’s amazing.

    The Mountain Dew throwback I had a taste of about a year ago made me gag, it tasted sorta skunky. I’ve been told the recipe has changed, but that one drink put me of Mountain Dew entierly.

    I haven’t had the Pepsi throwback yet, but all this talk of soda makes me want one. If it’s anything like Mexican coke, it should be amazing and have a much smoother taste.

  36. zombie70433 says:

    I tried the pepsi throwbacks, and they were disgusting. Give me that delicious corn sugar, let me bathe in it, let me make love to it. So much better than sugar.

  37. minjche says:

    Just tried a Mexican Coke outside of Atlanta on Sunday.

    Absolutely tasted different, and perhaps even better (I got a sense I was tasting more “cola” flavor than “sweet” flavor). Plus it seemed a bit smoother [less viscous] which was a nice effect.

    Granted for the past 2 days I’ve been fighting off a bit of food poisoning, but Waffle House, Taco Bell, and a dirty water fountain on a golf course are all above the Mexican Coke on my list of suspects.

  38. mbz32190 says:

    I cannot stand regular Coca-Cola….it just tastes way too heavy and syrup-y. I don’t know if it is a local bottler issue or what, because I have had Coke in other parts of the country and it tastes much better (I’m talking about the HFCS variety). Pepsi is much better, and glad they see the popularity of Throwback and how there is a difference in taste.

  39. phonic says:

    I can say this, thank the lord we have a large enough mexican population here in Florida to have mexican coke all ways available….even Fresh Market carries it here.

  40. dolemite says:

    Well, they are right. It’s a huge difference. I’ll admit, it doesn’t taste *as* different in coke, but in Pepsi products, you instantly notice the difference. I think cola masks the taste difference more than say, Mt. Dew, Dr. Pepper.

  41. Kensuke Nakamura says:

    I love Pepsi Throwback, i always stock up on it when I see it… But I feel like HFCS is a fundamental part of Mountain Dew, i tried the throwback Dew and it just tasted strange.

  42. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    We were lucky enough to get Mexican Pepsi in one of our stores. I did a side by side with Pepsi Throwback. Even that tastes different. (mexican pepsi was WAY TOO SWEET)

  43. d0x360 says:

    If you cant taste the difference between the 2 you have some serious issues. Normal Mountain Dew and Throwback Mountain Dew taste so different you wouldnt even know one was Mountain Dew unless someone told you..and you noticed it was green.

  44. sumocat says:

    A simple taste test between a spoonful of high-fructose corn syrup and a spoonful of sugar will prove there is a difference. Only problem is pure HFCS is only approved for industrial use. Closest thing a consumer can buy is regular corn syrup sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. I can even buy cancer-causing pure saccharin if I wanted to, but no HFCS. Why is that?

  45. saltyoak says:

    corn is good for making cattle fat

  46. consumerfist says:

    I recommend trying Trader Joe’s Vintage Cola in you have one near you ($3.50 for a 4-pack of 12 oz. bottles). It comes in glass bottles, tastes great, and is made with real sugar (with no artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, preservatives, or phosphoric acid). What more could ask for?

  47. RayanneGraff says:

    I can absolutely taste the difference. I hate the way HFCS tastes, its a musty kind of sweetness compared to the crispness of real sugar.

  48. Sparkstalker says:

    I stand by my love for all things Throwback, but only because no one distributes Red Rock cola around here….

  49. Vladimyre says:

    I for one can tell the difference every time between sugar and HCFS. I can also tell the difference between sodas in cans or in glass bottles. Sodas from cans have a metallic tang to them when I drink them.

    The biggest difference between HCFS and Sugar in sodas for me is the texture. HCFS drinks seem thicker to me than sugar. I can also usually taste more of all the flavors used when it’s sweetened with Sugar.

    I’ve had throwback dew and pepsi. pepsi I wasn’t really thrilled about. But the mountain dew throwback has a taste of citris that is much more pronounced than HCFS Mountain Dew. The citris notes were MUCH more noticable to me in the sugar version.

    The most pronounced flavor change for me was with Dr Pepper Heritage. In the sugar version you can taste the cherry notes much more than you can the HCFS and that flavor lasts a bit longer. I pick this up ANYTIME I see it in a store.

    Cilantro also tastes like bleach smells to me, I won’t even touch the stuff and can tell if there is ANY in any dish I have. Makes the whole thing taste like bleach.

    There are tons of studies showing that some people are super tasters and some people are inhibited and also people in between. So how each of us experiences taste is different and also highly subjective.


    • FredTheCat says:

      I completely agree about the sugar Dr. Pepper. The difference is immediately obvious, the sugar version being much smoother IMO. I can take or leave normal Dr. Pepper but gosh the sugar version is good. If (when) they take it off the shelf I’ll likely stop drinking Dr. Pepper again.

  50. ned4spd8874 says:

    I’m one of those that can taste the difference. I love the Throwback Pepsi products as well as the elusive vintage Dr. Pepper with natural sugar and buy them over the normal versions. I wish all pop was made that way instead of HFCS now.

  51. Themaster73 says:

    Pepsi Throwback IS not Pepsi without HFCS, it is a different formula (note the lack of Citric Acid). Kosher for Passover Pepsi and Kosher for Passover Caffeine Free Pepsi however have Citric Acid.

    Here are the different formulas for Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Sierra Mist.

    Note: HFCS Pepsi has both HFCS and Sugar
















  52. sjgarg says:

    Having drank Canadian Pepsi, made with cane sugar, since I was a child, I immediately noticed the difference of HFCS Pepsi when traveling to the USA.
    The HFCS Pepsi had an aftertaste that was reminiscent of corn syrup, it just didn’t taste right. Thereafter I would bring Canadian Pepsi with me for US trips.

    There is a difference to myself, and to deny that there are people who can tell the difference is just wrong.

  53. Corinthos says:

    I usually don’t like pepsi products but I do like the throw backs. I wish I could get them in 2 liters. If they are available that way they don’t sell them in my area.

  54. RogalDorn says:

    Its very true. I spent time overseas where they only use cane sugar and their soda or ‘minerals’ were simply amazing. The difference between Fanta in Africa and a fanta in JFK airport are night and day. I couldn’t finish it. It took me a long time to be able to drink soda here in the states again.

  55. conscious says:

    Hey America.. enough with the corn already.

  56. scgirl_212 says:

    The only difference I have ever tasted stemmed from the container it came in. Soda in a glass bottle just tastes better (to me) and cans are the worst. If you have a Mexican Coke (in a glass bottle) and a US Coke (w/ HFCS and in a glass bottle) the taste difference is much less noticeable than if I was comparing a glass bottle soda and a plastic bottle or aluminium can soda.

    Just my own observation though. :)

  57. teamsugar says:

    A few friends and I have put together a reference of products made without corn syrup (candy, bread, yogurt, etc). Also we have a collection of research that is not sponsored by the sugar or corn syrup industries.

    If you are interested check out

  58. zibby says:

    Reminds me of the time my mother went on a health food kick in the ’80’s and tried to tell me there was no taste difference between chocolate and carob. Believe me, there was.

  59. suburbancowboy says:

    It is funny though, that on the packaging, they do not want to say there is “NO HFCS!” as that would imply that HFCS is bad, and make the majority of their products look bad.

  60. Nemspyda says:

    To the people claiming they taste the same:

    I spent the first 34 years of my life living in Australia. In 2006 I moved to the US to live with my wife. The first thing I drank when I hit American shores was one of those airline sized cans of Coke on a connecting flight out of LAX.

    After my first sip I thought “What is wrong with this Coke?” – It had a sort of sticky texture and has a strong aftertaste that for some reason reminds me of the lingering taste of the Christmas Plum Puddings we have back home. By contrast, Cane Sugar coke is crisper and cleaner tasting, with no aftertaste.

    This was the first time I had ever tasted a soft drink sweetened with HFCS. I am an avid soda drinker and for the first year I was miserable because I just didn’t like how Soda tasted here. For some reason I couldn’t tell quite as much in fountain drinks (maybe because of how they are watered down and also have melting ice in them), but I could never, EVER mistake a standard can of American coke for the stuff flavoured with sugar.

    When I found Mexican Coke at Sam’s Club the first sip carried me instantly back home – it tasted identical to Australian Coke.

    If some Americans can’t tell the difference it’s because you’re used to the taste of HFCS and it’s unpleasant properties become less noticeable over time, sort of like how if you drink a lot of diet soft drinks you stop noticing the NutraSweet, but if you never drink them you gag if you’re served it by mistake at a restaurant.

    Nice to see Pepsi cutting through the spin to say it like it is, now if only they would go one step further and admit that not only does it taste different, it tastes MUCH BETTER.

  61. nocturnaljames says:

    There is definitely a taste difference. Throwback Mt. Dew tastes funny to me.. even though I grew up on the non-HFCS version. I wanted to like it but it tastes off to me. I suspect it’s not quite the same as it originally was.

  62. scratchie says:

    I like the way the guy from Pepsi manages to talk about cane sugar without using the word “sugar”. Clever.

  63. Kristoffer says:

    I can definitely taste the difference with the Mountain Dew Throwback. Much smoother and just a better drinkability (is that a word?) in my opinion. There is a Hispanic grocery store about 30 minutes away from me that carries Coke used with cane sugar and they are always sold out. The owner says that it sells out as fast as he can get it in and he has people that drive from over an hour away to get it. So whether these manufacturers want to believe it, many people do taste a difference.

  64. wastedlife says:

    They also only compared against coke. If they had also included tests against Dr Pepper, or RC, I wonder if the results might have been different.

    Okay, maybe not for RC…

  65. DANElewis says:

    I have to say even though i have quit most of my HFCS for the past 3 years i still had a preference for real sugar Coke and Dr.Pepper while it is a slight difference in Coke Dr.Pepper’s quality is a massive taste improvement.

    Furthermore while I rank Jones Soda bellow both Coke and Pepsi in the pure “Cola” flavor they have the best Root Bear and Cream Soda hands down. While i do not know if that is due to sugar as they never use HFCS I find it likely that it helps.