During Passover, Coke and Pepsi sell sugar based versions of their sodas in order to stay kosher for Passover. These high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) free sodas are extremely popular and people stock up while they can. I don’t know whether this is due to the better taste, the nostalgia, or the limited supply but these sugar based versions are definitely more popular. I wonder what would happen if either Coke or Pepsi decided to go “all in” on sugar and launch a marketing campaign against HFCS based food and drinks. I’d love to look at the margins of sugar vs HFCS based sodas and see what the market share increase would need to be in order to offset the switch to sugar. My gut tells me that pursuing this strategy would be a win but the companies are too entrenched in their current process that it’s just not going to happen. Smaller soda manufacturers, such as Boylan, GuS, and Moxie, are growing by differentiating themselves from the big guys and are emphasizing the healthier ingredients. I’m hopeful that this will pressure Coke and Pepsi to make their soda healthier. Unfortunately, what’s more likely to happen is that they will just acquire the niche manufacturers position them to appeal to the more concious consumer, similar to what’s happening to craft breweries.


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