Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper have finally agreed on something -- the sugar calories in soda aren't good for you. They have committed themselves to reducing the calories by 20 percent by 2025(!). With such a long lead time, they can nibble at the goal for 10 years. And, maybe, that is what they have to do to keep consumers from protesting that the taste of their cola has changed. The important result of this announcement is that the three beverage makers are hanging out in public and open to devastating criticism if they don't do what they have pledged to accomplish. Public pressure has brought them this far. Now they have to make it the rest of the way. Reducing sugar and fructose is a risk. They are going to find out how much consumers want a sweet refreshment and whether consumers can tolerate sugar substitutes in a non-diet cola. Cutting sugar is the right thing to do but it could prove to be bad for business. The companies and the public will know in a decade.