Pepsi plans to cut sugar a positive move for profits, obesity rates

Two Cornell University experts comment on Pepsi’s plan for reducing sugar in its soft drinks around the world.

John Cawley: Move by Pepsi a win for everybody
Cawley is a professor of policy analysis and management and of economics and has studied the effectiveness of soda taxes on the obesity epidemic.


Cawley says
“If the reformulated products are just as enjoyable to consumers, and are healthier, then everybody wins: the consumer is in better health, the firm maintains its sales, and society avoids external medical care costs associated with diabetes and obesity.

“Pepsi’s announcement may, in part, be the result of the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in Berkeley, California and on the ballot in several other cities – such as San Francisco – this November; it may also have been inspired by the nationwide law that requires calorie labels on menus of chain restaurants that takes effect in 2017. These policies create incentives for manufacturers to reformulate their products to make them healthier.”

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David Just: Pepsi makes lower calories drinks the norm, impact consumer diets
Just is a food marketing and economics expert, and is an expert of what motivates consumers to change their eating or drinking habits.


Just says:

“Pepsi is taking the matter into their own hands and working to make somewhat lower calorie drinks the norm. A lot of the aversion some people have to diet drinks is the simple fact that they are labeled ‘diet.’ This implies that they are not normal, but intended for a niche consumer who needs to cut calories. By making changes in their flagship drinks, this can really impact consumer diets.

“They will need to be careful in the rollout to ensure that consumers don’t push back on the reformulations. Even if they find ways to reduce the sugar without changing the taste, regular drinkers may claim they can taste a difference. That said, this may be one of the reasons they plan to implement over a long period of time. Subtle changes over a longer period of time may keep such problems at bay.”

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