Monday, March 15, 2010

Juice Is It!

Several years ago, the debate began as to the nutritional and sustainable aspects of corn and corn syrup. The tide has waned some and I have not heard much about it lately. However, when it was in the forefront, I began experimenting with colas that had sugar cane instead of corn syrup. I found that the products were similar in taste, but that the name recognition doomed the project. Coke and Pepsi are so prevalent in our life that market forces prevent a visionary change on a large scale.

What I learned though is that using an alternate product with high visibility can lessen the dependence on colas. Several years ago, we implemented a juice program with Vitality/Sunkist and placed shiny new dispensers next to the soda fountains. What we found is that our overall cost increased by thousands per year due to the 100% juice products, but soda consumption decreased by 6%. There was not a net break-even or savings, but I can sleep better at night knowing that fewer students are drinking soda.

Where we go from here depends on the name brands… I have seen some throw-back introductions in the cola market recently that are using sugar cane instead of fructose. They are probably researching the feasibility in order to be prepared for a market driven force to rid fructose. I say they are on the right track and should make this change. To be clear, I am not sure if the caloric and diabetic properties change much, but in our “all-natural” product world, it seems this is the wave of the future and I support it completely.


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