I'm a cola nerd. I don't drink much of it anymore because I'm old enough where I can actually feel how bad it is for me. As long as I can remember I've collected soft drink advertising going back several decades. The reason soft drink advertising intrigues me so much because it seems to encapsulate marketing lies...and it's comforting to know they lied to my grandparents every bit as much as they did me.
People have been up-in-arms about what serves for sweetener in these modern soft drinks and while I don't think I have anything in particular against High Fructose Corn Syrup, I can say that it seems to have ruined the taste that I remember as a kid.
So out comes Pepsi Natural. The label very plainly describes its main ingredients:
Sparkling water, sugar, kola nut extract
I looked for it in stores and I missed it several times. Pepsi seems to have labeled the product as if to hide it on the shelves. If you're not deliberately looking for it you're likely to pass it over. And if you're me you might still anyway.
|So what does it taste like? Does it taste like the Pepsi I loved so much as a child? In a word, no. But I'm willing to bet it tastes like the Pepsi my grandparents enjoyed. The kola nut extract provides a hint of a bitter, almost medicinal taste that is strangely likeable. This flavor combination is pretty close to the drug store fountain cola of days gone by. Sadly, you'll have to add your own cocaine to get the more authentic experience. |
I prefer to drink out of glass or metal. I have never liked drinking out of plastic, so the glass bottle is a nice touch.
I bought a 4-pack and it was more expensive than regular old Pepsi which I'm sure is attributed to the smaller supply they produce in manufacturing. So here is what I'm able to add up from the Pepsi Natural experience:
- It costs more
- It contains real sugar
- It comes in a glass bottle
- It is backed by a passive marketing strategy (especially by Pepsi standards)
- It does not have an instantly desirable taste
And to summarize:
Pepsi Natural probably won't be around much longer. Naturally.