PepsiCo recently announced that it is changing its beverages in a big way over the next few years. By 2025, two-thirds of its beverages — from soda to Gatorade to orange juice — will have 100 or fewer calories. Currently, less than 40 percent of drinks have that calorie count. The changes comes following new guidelines for sugar consumption issued by the World Health Organization. The recommended daily sugar intake is 50 grams per day, which is slightly more than one can of regular Pepsi. The National Obesity Society reports that Americans consume 30 percent more sugar now that a decade ago. The news of Pepsi reducing sugar may be some pretty welcome news.
Declining Sugar Consumption
Soda consumption in the U.S. has been on the decline over the past few years as consumers become more aware of their sugar intake.
In 2015, the total volume of soda consumed in the U.S. dropped by a little over 1 percent, according to Beverage Digest. Pepsi’s volume specifically dropped 3.2 percent. Industry lobbyists have called this decrease in consumption the “war on sugar” because of the adverse effects on sales.
At the same time, diet drinks have also experienced sluggish sales due to concern over chemicals in them. Pepsi announced last year that it would end the use of aspartame as a sweetener after concerts over its link to diabetes and obesity.
Pepsi Reducing Sugar: Turning the Tide
About $30 billion of Pepsi’s revenue last year came from beverage sales, so the company has an interest in making sure that its products are in line with consumer preferences to keep that money rolling in.
Pepsi plans to make good on its 100-calorie promise by reducing the size of its soda cans and bottles. It has already introduced 8.5-ounce cans into the market to replace 12-ounce cans. The smaller sizes are also more profitable than their larger counterparts.
The company also announced that it will further diversify its brand by focusing more on products that are not traditionally as high in sugar, such as coffee, juice and water. The company will also focus on more honest labeling after a lawsuit over the sugar content in its Naked Juice.
However, Pepsi is banking on the fact that Americans will never fully give up on soda. Will that hold true? Only time will tell.