Now make it happen!

Dear Massimo d’Amore,
CEO of PepsiCo Beverages of America

I am directing this to you because you can make this happen for us in America. The other CEOs of PepsiCo Beverages for the other continents have already done so in eliminating high fructose corn syrup. But I am not asking you to eliminate high fructose corn syrup all together because I understand the difficulty in making a large decision like that and what it may cost you to break your ties with the Corn Refiner’s Association. So I am asking you to make small baby steps. The first step would be to offer Pepsi Throwback to consumers on a national scale, putting it in all major supermarket chains. The next step would be to advertise. This time people should know about your product and have a fair opportunity to show you how much we really want it.

I have outlines all my facts on this blog. I have scientific reasons to ethical reasons. Whatever your reason may end up being, as long as you have a reason. We, as consumers, are smart. We also care more about what goes into our body now more than ever because health problems are rising. You are a major playing card in this problem. While many of us turn to Pepsi for a crisp cold drink on a hot day which is what you are marketing to us, many people dont even know you are marketing health problems and obesity with it.

Stated in the “Guiding Principles” of PepsiCo;

“We must always strive to:
1. Care for our customers
2. Sell only products we can be proud of
3. Speak with truth and candor
4. Balance short term and long term”

By not offering Pepsi Throwback, you are not allowing your more health conscious consumer who may love you, do enjoy you. Can you really be proud of selling high fructose corn syrup with no alternative option? The truth is in the facts. It is proven that high fructose corn syrup is bad for your health. In turn, it also has long term health effects. I really don’t think I am asking a lot. Just bring Pepsi Throwback back.

Sincerly,

Selena Devore
Public Relations and Advertising Student
Chapman University

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Ok in Moderation?

So in all the high fructose corn syrup ads, they have been saying that HFCS is ok in moderation. But it is in everything we eat. From soda to cookies to even pasta sauce, it is in there. Here are some tips to avoiding high fructose corn syrup:

  • Avoid fast food: fast food often contains high amounts of high fructose corn syrup as a preservative
  • Read your food labels: high fructose corn syrup is in EVERYTHING. So check your labels very carefully. In the ingredients section of the label, the items are listed in order of what ingredient is most prevalent in the food or drink. So for instance, in soda the first ingredient is water and the second is high fructose corn syrup. This means that there are very hight amounts of the corn syrup in the drink.

  • Understand what “natural” or “organic” means on labels with regard to HFCS: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the use of the word “natural”. Consumers are the ones to fight large corporations when they label with misleading words. Foods and beverages can be labeled as “natural” even though they contain high fructose corn syrup, because fructose is a naturally occurring sugar. The word “organic” is heavily regulated, and basically, only foods labeled as 100% organic can be assumed to be HFCS-free.
  • Avoid big brands of soda: Smaller brands such as Jones Soda have switched to pure cane sugar. Jones is found in most super markets.

The below video is just a little comical parody of the high fructose corn syrup commercials. But the boy makes a good point on consumers ability to eat high fructose corn syrup in moderation when it is in everything we eat.

Visit this website for a list of foods that are HFCS free: The Sugar Diet

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The Bandwagon, Ok by Me

Going all natural and cutting preservatives out of the diet has been a growing trend. But that same trend happening in grocery stores and restaurants? Yes. A popular grocery market in Seattle called PCC banned all products with high fructose corn syrup in 2007 in aims to lean towards being a more natural and wholesome choice store. Today, the stores are called PCC Natural Markets and no longer carries any products that have any trace of preservatives or genetic modifications. They have even begun advocating a Non-GMO(Genetically Modified Organism) project where they educate consumers on the risks of consuming GMO foods.

A quick serve restaurant based in Austin TX, called Cabo Bob’s, also jumped on the bandwagon and got rid of all high fructose corn syrup products. It all began when Don Brinkman, the owner of Cabo Bob’s decided to have his favorite soda from his childhood on tap, Dublin Dr. Pepper. After that, he decided to offer more sodas that use the original recipe of sugar rather than HFCS. “We only had high fructose corn syrup in a few other products, so we quickly took those out,” says Brinkman. At the time, he did not realize the extent of news his little mexican food stop was causing. His shop was the first high fructose corn syrup free quick serve in the US. “To me it’s an obvious choice,” he says. “You provide what people are looking for.” They offer a variety of sodas including XXX Root Beer, Big Red, Nu-Grape, and of course, Dublin Dr. Pepper. “People like it more, they don’t drink as much, and cost-wise it’s just about the same as HFCS products,” Brinkman says.

Here is the bandwagon. And according to Brinkman, it was not a hard decision to jump onto it because its what consumers want. So why is Pepsi still fighting our wants? Maybe they just don’t hear us. We are a niche in the larger scheme of their market. They spent little advertising dollars on Pepsi Throwback so of course many of us did not know it was out when they sent it to us for a limited time when Pepsi could have been testing the market for this product. But with the proper advertising dollars, I believe this product will swarm our refrigerators if they just let people out there know about it.

For the detailed article regarding either of these food suppliers visit:

Amid debate, grocery chain bans high-fructose corn syrup

The First HFCS-free Quick-Serve in the U.S.

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Just some facts

“Between 1970 (when HFCS was introduced) and 2000, the prevalence of obesity more than doubled, from 15 percent to almost one-third of the adult population. And worse, much worse, obesity among children 12 to 19 — who consume a disproportionate amount of the soft drinks, fruit juice, and sports drinks that are sweetened with HFCS — increased from 4.2 percent in 1970 to 15.3 percent in 2000.” (The Seattle Times Health)

“We know that if it’s not caught early, one in three of these overweight children will grow into overweight adults at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and early death.” (Dr. George Bray who served as founding president of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity and organized the first international congress on obesity in 1973)

After so many studies have proven that high fructose corn syrup is greatly affecting people’s weight gain, is it smart for Pepsi to not take a stance and offer other alternatives? There is a product to blame for obesity rates and companies are also in part to blame for pushing the scientific evidence to the side and feeding their consumers something that may be harmful. This might be a harsh comparison but this is much like cigarette companies advertising their product and selling their product even though they know its bad for their consumers. But in this case, Pepsi can change everything. Bringing back Pepsi Throwback for good will open the doors to a better and healthier future for America.

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Back to the Soda

There are actually quite a few of sodas out there that are made with natural sugar. But the downside is that most of these are not colas. Of course there is always Mexican Coke but that can only be found in stores that carry Hispanic spices, meats, and other products which is not available in all areas. Being a cola drinker myself, this is disappointing. But Pepsi should use these successes of other companies to branch out to launch Pepsi Throwback’s permanent presence in the market. If you google “natural sugar soda” the first link that pops up is for Jones Soda. Jones Soda switched to all natural cane sugar in 2007. On that page, the company stated “thanks to phone calls from our fans, consumer research, and one passionately loud Jones Soda Receptionist, we are tossing out the HFCS.” Not only is Jones Soda no longer using HFCS, but they are speaking out agains genetically modified foods and ingredients by saying things like, “Corn is for Cars. . .Sugar is for Soda.”

Lets look at Hansen’s. They produce a soda with natural sugar as well. In their mission statement they say, “Hansen’s brand products will always be free of preservatives and without artificial flavors or colors.” Their approach is also all or nothing when it comes to the use of high fructose corn syrup. Most of their sodas have similar flavors to those offered by Jones except Hansen’s offers a vanilla coke. So far that is the closest I have found to an original cola.

When Pepsi launched Pepsi Throwback, Nicole Bradley, Pepsi spokesperson, made a statement on why they chose to launch Pepsi Throwback and said, “we wanted to be true to the time that the products represent. During that time, sugar was the sweetener we used in our soft drinks.” In that same conference, Bradley also stated “HFCS is essentially the same as table sugar.” This is almost word for word what the Corn Refiner’s Association says. As long as Pepsi wants to keep selling sodas with HFCS in them, it is understandable why they are taking sides with the corn industry. But they are helping spread the same propaganda. And it is no wonder why they keep Pepsi Throwback for limited time every time it is released; they are telling their consumers there is no need to spend extra money on Pepsi Throwback because their regular soda packed with high fructose corn syrup is safe.

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The Rat Test

Many articles that I have been linking to have been referencing a study done with rats. So I decided to dedicate a whole post to this study so you know what happened during this study and be better informed so when reading other articles or blogs, if they reference this lab study you will know the ins and outs of who, what, where, when and how.

The study was done at Princeton University in early 2010. Psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who helped lead the study stated, “when rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.” The experiment was the first to study the long term effects of high fructose corn syrup on obesity in lab animals. The study involved giving rats water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow and rats received water sweetened with table sugar in conjunction with the standard diet.

It was found that the rats who were given high fructose corn syrup gained much more weight than the rats given table sugar. The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas. They monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats that were fed high-fructose corn syrup over a period of six months. “These rats aren’t just getting fat; they’re demonstrating characteristics of obesity, including substantial increases in abdominal fat and circulating triglycerides,” said Princeton graduate student Miriam Bocarsly. “In humans, these same characteristics are known risk factors for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer and diabetes.”

For more on this study visit the Princeton University article

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A Change of Name

The Corn Refiner’s Association has been trying to change the image of high fructose corn syrup for a while. This past September they were granted a new name. The federal government granted permission to use the name of “corn sugar” on labels rather than high fructose corn syrup. They have began a full marketing campaign that involves online marketing and television spots. Changing the name I think is a big concern on winning the battle to get companies to offer natural sugar options because of the detailed marketing campaign. Corn sugar doesn’t sound un-natural. It also doesn’t sound very bad for you either. One blogger wrote “I think the reason the name is being changed to Corn Sugar is simply because lately artificial sweeteners and High Fructose Corn Syrup have received bad press and the new trend is to eat all natural foods.”

The marketing campaign launched makes corn sugar seem like it is all natural with out saying it is all natural. They are misleading. I almost believed it until I did some research in it to find that it is just high fructose corn syrup with a different name. The main marketing tagline is “whether it’s corn sugar or cane sugar, your body can’t tell the difference. Sugar is sugar.” They are also stating that corn sugar and cane sugar are almost identical to each other. While the calorie count and molecular structure may be almost identical, having that much fructose in corn is not naturally occurring and therefor you body does not digest it the same.

One of the main tactics they are using that bugs me is mommy bloggers. These bloggers are using almost word for word information taken from the cornsugar.com and sweetsurprise.com. Both of the Corn Refiner’s Association’s websites for news and information regarding their corn sweetener products. Luckily there are some smart people out there. One blog I found, called “Brain Foggles“, many of the comments posted on a blog post about the facts and myths of high fructose corn syrup challenged what the blogging mom had to say. They asked her to check her sources because her only source was that of the Corn Refiner’s Association. Another comment called her out and accused her of blogging for the Corn Refiner’s Association and continued to comment that it is a desperate tactic to ask mom bloggers to blog about them. On the Corn Refiner’s Association’s Twitter page, they are re-tweeting mommy blogs that shed HFCS in a good light. In addition, they are responding to many people’s concerns directed toward them with links to their website.

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