The American Love Affair With Soda
Carbonated beverages have been around for over a century. Some say they were originally created to mimic the bubbles of champagne on a budget. Whether or not this is the case, the soft drink companies that were established in the United States have grown into powerful multinational companies. This essay aims to explore how this came to be.
The average soft drink is very inexpensive to make. With ingredients that basically come down to sugar, water, carbon dioxide, flavor and color one might be excused for thinking that the bottles are worth more than their contents in real terms. By selling their products at such a significant markup, the profits such companies can make are staggering.
This brings up another issue: Marketing. Most people are unaware of the sources for their desires. Soft drink manufacturers exploit this shamelessly. By showing images of attractive people having fun with their product paired with moving music and a slogan, they begin convincing you to link their product with enjoyment. Once that connection is firmly made, you will begin to want the drink when what you really want is to be happy.
Despite many of these advantages, sodas have declined in popularity noticeably. Their high sugar content is in contradiction with many people’s weight loss goals. Added to this, there have been myths that regular consumption of sodas leads to severe corrosion of the enamel. This is sometimes demonstrated by placing a tooth into a class of soda and returning after a few days to notice that it has completely dissolved. This experiment has also allegedly been successfully repeated with the skeleton of a rat.
If nothing else the soda industry is resilient. In response to some of the criticism about the healthiness of their products, many soda companies have branched out into more healthful fair. The juices they produce are often just as sugary and when they are not they may even contain more calories than their flavored equivalents. There has even been a surprisingly successful move into ‘flavored waters’. With ingredients such as sugar, carbon dioxide, water and flavor in new proportions, these are little more than sodas re-branded without the color. Still, by being referred to as a ‘water’ they have slightly higher appeal to the health conscious.
The soft drink conglomerates have quite capably inserted their names and sponsorship into many aspects of our lives. They are also wealthy enough to survive our disapproval.
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