Dr. Pepper Celebrates 125 years by Misleading Consumers

Here’s one of the six retro cans of Dr. Pepper, introduced in celebration of 125 years of making money off of selling a curiously flavored drink.

We’ve highlighted one of the most annoying marketing habits of  the past few years, which the Dr has picked up as well  – adding an innocent looking claim “made with real sugar”.

The idea of course is to alleviate consumers’ worries about high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener that some people confuse with the devil himself.

Most scientists agree that both sweeteners are equally bad in the amounts consumed today in the US.

What do you think – are the TEN TEASPOONS OF SUGAR in a single can a moderate amount to consume?

People please – whether it’s real sugar or fake sugar, try to limit the amount you take in.

Shame on you Dr. Pepper for misleading us to obesity.

What to do at the supermarket:

The quickest and most proven way to reduce sugar consumption is to forgo the soft drinks aisle in the supermarket. You’ll save $500 per family of 4 over the course of a year, too.

  • http://www.gardengatedelivery.com marlo

    my family rarely drinks soda. when thirsty, my kids won’t drink juice or milk, they ask for water.

    for special occasions, we all like to buy a soda at the beverage store. we look for “real sugar” sodas because they taste better. i don’t mind that dr. pepper promotes something that they’re actually doing- from your headline i took it to mean they didn’t have real sugar in there. if they’re not making any claims that aren’t true, then the burden of decision-making lies in the consumers hands. this is what fooducate is particularly good at and i am glad there are people putting good info back in the consumers hands.

  • Jackie

    Real sugar does taste better than HFCS. Also, you feel the calories when you drink beverages made with real sugar; that is, you can feel full. That feedback is a much more immediate reminder of how these are wasted calories, should be a treat, etc. The calories in HFCS sodas don’t register any differently than water, so it is possible to drink several without realizing the number of calories consumed. That’s been my personal experience. So it would seem to me that using sugar rather than HFCS is a step toward fighting obesity in giving people’s bodies the proper feedback to make better choices.

    That being said, Dr. Pepper produced a real sugar product, not to claim health benefits, but to respond to customer demand. They’re not making false claims; they are identifying the product for those who seek it.

  • J in VA

    I drink about 1 real sugar soda every week or two. I agree that the real sugar ones are more filling and I drink much less. I appreciate that we have the choice to drink a real sugar soda occasionally and am happy that a few “regular” soda companies are making sugar sodas to add variety since I don’t always want clear, no caffeine fruit-y flavors.

  • Karina

    I think the difference here is that we’re not talking about a health food, we’re talking about a soda. I don’t think people who are buying soda think they’re getting broccoli.

    For me, this would make a difference–because IF I were so inclined to waste calories and lose nutrition by wasting those calories on a soda, I would be faster to grab something that was made with sugar than HFCS.

    I also don’t think Dr. Pepper is actually misleading anything here, so I find myself in the odd position of disagreeing with you. They never said, “Fewer calories”, “healthy drink” or “helps with weight loss”. They are marketing a soda, not fruit.

    If they painted a banana on the cover and plastered it with “builds immunity!” or “part of a healthy diet!” or “super source of vitamin c!” I’d be right with you. They didn’t…they said, “Made with real sugar.” Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I think most people by now have figured out that excess sugar, just like excess soda, is not healthy nor is it going to keep you svelte.

    I have no problem with this one. Immunity Rice Krispies? That’s another matter altogether.

  • Laura

    DP isn’t doing anything new there. These have always been available as the original Dublin Dr. Pepper from Dublin, Tx. :)

  • Jason

    As others have stated this is about taste, not about any perceived additional healthfulness of sugar vs. HFCS.

    I don’t drink soda at all, but when I’m eating something “bad” on those rare occasions I make sure I’m getting maximum tastiness for my buck (calories, in this case) – tastiness being hiqh quality, natural/organic, fresh ingredients.

    This Dr. Pepper wouldn’t make the cut anyway. A soda at the bare minimum would need to start with no arificial/”natural” flavors, colors, preservatives, or phosphoric acid. And even if that were the case, there are many, many more less-than-healthy foods I’d rather enjoy than a can of soda. I’m thinking of something at the local bakery or Whole Foods pastry section. Does that make me a food snob? Ha!

  • http://www.livingitupcornfree.com kc

    I hate it when anyone paints real cane sugar with the same brush as HFCS. Real cane sugar is certainly not a health food, but at least it isn’t an endocrine disrupting genetically engineered pseudo-food. It’s time the consumer is told that high fructose corn syrup is not equal to cane sugar. If the consumer is going to buy something sweet, at least them partake of a genuine edible crop instead of a toxic crop engineered in a lab to be a pesticide.

  • Amy in StL

    I have no idea how that label is misleading. They’re not claiming the soda is more healthy, just that is has real sugar in it. I don’t like sugared sodas, although I used to have a nasty diet soda habit a year ago. When I was camping this fall, someone had a Pepsi made with real sugar. I was surprised how it tasted good and not weird and fake and way to sweet. Dr. Pepper is just responding to what consumers want, a better tasting drink. Geez, how high is that soapbox of your anyway?

  • Dan

    Well said everybody! How come this blog never responds when it (almost always) jumps way to far into the deep end. I think a lighter (no pun intended) approach to eating healthy would be received much better by the masses.

  • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Editorial Staff

    @Dan good morning, who says we don’t respond?
    To the point – while the readers of this blog may be smart enough to know that drinking pop is not that healthy, there are people out there who respond to marketing messages such as “real sugar” differently. They get a small psychological nudge to buy the product because it’s “Real” and “natural”.
    A similar example – some vegetable oils are marketed with “no cholesterol” labels. Cholesterol comes from animals so obviously will not be found in a vegetable oil, so why plaster it on the package? It’s deceitful and misleading.

  • Tara

    I have to agree that it isn’t misleading at all. It is promoting the fact that it is made with real sugar instead of HFCS, and that IS better for you. A super health conscious person isn’t going to be deceived by this because they won’t be in the soda aisle anyway. And for people like me who actually drink soda, it is a small step in the right direction. I cannot stand to drink water most of the time. The only time that I do is after physical exercise. I hate the taste of it. My drinks MUST taste sweet.

  • Greg

    Shame on you Fooducate for misleading readers into reading your blog over this issue. The point is, if the sodas are going to have sweeteners, sugar is best over HFCS. You could also point out the diet sodas out there that have no calories, but you conveniently overlook that. Dr. Pepper and Pepsi should be congratulated for using sugar over HFCS, and they both should be encouraged to continue to do so.

  • Jeff

    I don’t understand how they are misleading anyone. It says “Made with real sugar” and there’s sugar in it.

  • Lauren

    Actually, the “made with real sugar” thing is a really big deal to those who like Dr. Pepper. Dublin Dr. Pepper is a product that uses imperial sugar instead of HFCS, and you can taste the difference. I had the new product, and it definitely tastes like Dubliln DP, not regular. I’m under no illusion that it is healthier, but it tastes better. It isn’t misleading anyone.

  • Anonymous

    How the hell is this misleading? It has the exact same amount of sugar as a regular can or Dr. Pepper, except it’s cane sugar and not corn sugar.

  • SamerIWarrior

    As everyone below points out, your article is demonstrates plain ignorance. To begin with no one, including Dr Pepper, is advocating the unadulterated consumption of sugar in any form. They are clearly just stating that it’s cane sugar and not high fructose corn syrup. If you don’t understand the difference I will not bother to explain and if you do it will be clear to you why that’s better. What’s next? Are you going to shame Breyers for making ice cream with real sugar and milk fat? It’s the consumer’s right to enjoy products responsibly. Sugar, alcohol, fat, or otherwise and shaming a company for a step in the right direction is absurd at best.