The Throwback line of Pepsi products, which are made with real sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup, are back again for a limited time. The first batch was available in April 2009 and was discontinued only two months later. PepsiCo brought the soda back for a limited time in 2010.
PepsiCo chose to focus on Pepsi and Mountain Dew for the corn-syrup-free variation of their most popular sodas. The new packaging for Pepsi Throwback uses an exact replica of the 1973-1987 logos, while the Mountain Dew Throwback shows the original hillbilly theme from the 1970s. The theme is in remembrance of “Willy the Hillbilly,” who decorated the original bottles of the 1960s with sayings like “It’ll tickle your innards!”
The idea for the return of real sugar in Pepsi products began in the late 2000s, when soft drink fans requested the change. Fans of Classic Pepsi wanted to bring back the sweeter taste, and defended their choice by citing sugar’s now-lower prices.
Soft drink recipes were changed in the 1970s and 1980s due to the rise in the cost of sugar. Major soda manufacturers switched to high-fructose corn syrup as a cheap alternative to sugar. By the mid 1980s, all major soft drink brands, including PepsiCo, had switched to corn syrup.
When asked if the removal of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was to appease those opposed to the use of HFCS as a sweeter, Pepsi replied that “…there is a lot of misinformation circulating about HFCS, but that truth is that it’s made from corn and contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives. HFCS is essentially the same as table sugar and is metabolized the same.”
PepsiCo stated that sugar is used in the Throwback brand because they “wanted to be true to the time these products represent. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, sugar was the sweetener used…”
To keep up with the competition, Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, producer of Dr Pepper, started selling “Heritage Dr Pepper,” which is sugar sweetened. Coca-Cola makes a coke with real sugar around Passover time, so it can be deemed kosher.
Throwback Pepsi and Mountain Dew will only be available until February 22, 2010.