January 24, 2005
Some questions about soft drinks

1. Why has there been such a proliferation of flavors in the last few years? Pitch Black Mountain Dew, Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, Holiday Spice Pepsi. And itís not just sodas: Minute Maid now makes frozen orange juice blended with tangerine flavor, and alternatively with passionfruit flavor.

My guess: people are drinking more soft drinks every day. (Which begs the obvious question, why?) Taste buds get jaded. That leads to a demand for greater variety. A second possibility, also question-begging: supermarket shelf space has for some reason gotten cheaper.

UPDATE: Josh's demand-side hypothesis (above) has promise. Test: Is it true that the new flavors are consumed disproportionately by growing demographic groups? Here's an alternative supply-side hypothesis that a colleague suggested over lunch today: the IT revolution has made it now much cheaper than it used to be for a bottler to manage inventories of 20 different flavors. This hypothesis, generalized, has the implication that we should also see a proliferation of newly sized products, like boxes of miniature Ritz crackers. And we do.

2. Now that we have varieties of Diet Coke flavored with vanilla, cherry, lemon, and lime, what's next? My guess: Chocolate Diet Coke. Back in the days when girls wore poodle skirts, soda fountains served Chocolate Cokes.

3. What were they thinking when they released Mixed Berry 7up Plus? It tastes awful.

4. Why can't you get unsweetened iced tea in a can? Is it because it would taste even more like the can than the awful sweetened Nestea-in-a-can already does?

5. Why is iced tea in a bottle so much more expensive than soda in a bottle? Don't they both consist of 98% water?

Btw, the best unsweetened iced tea in a bottle is Tejava brand, available at Trader Joe's. To take the slightly bitter edge off, add a splash of Minute Maid light lemonade (which tastes better than Tropicana).

Posted by Lawrence H. White at 10:35 AM  ·  TrackBack (30)

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