Photograph of someone pouring OLIPOP into cups

15 min read

Why is OLIPOP More Expensive Than Regular Soda?


At OLIPOP, we’re looking to change the future by reflecting on the past. We’ve taken a drink that for decades has been dominated by highly-refined sugar and artificial ingredients and made it into a nutritious and tasty experience. That’s because we know that life is too short to load up on unnecessary sugar and drink a soda with zero nutrition, but it’s also too short not to satisfy your sweet cravings.


You may be wondering why the price of a can of OLIPOP is more expensive than a can of traditional soda. There’s a simple answer: OLIPOP contains ingredients that can help you live a healthier life, while cheaper sodas really only fill you up with empty calories that may have detrimental effects on your health.


Keep reading to find out more about why you should value OLIPOP more than those other sugar bomb sodas.


What Is OLIPOP?


Is OLIPOP A Soda?


OLIPOP tastes just like the soda you grew up sipping, but with the added benefit of microbiome and digestive health support. That’s why we call it a “new kind of soda.” One that reminds you of summer days lounging by the pool, or nights sitting around the dinner table with friends and family. We’re still that bubbly beverage you know and love, with all the flavors you’ve come to enjoy, but our pop is made with scientifically-backed ingredients that can support a healthy lifestyle.


Why Is Regular Soda Cheap?


When you buy a can of soda, the reason you pay so little is because you’re getting so little—soda is essentially just water, sugar, preservatives, and flavoring. However, there’s more to the story behind why soft drinks cost so little.


1. Sweeteners


It’s not cheap to use real fruit juice to sweeten soda like OLIPOP does. In fact, the price of sweeteners is a huge factor in the overall cost of a can of soda—especially considering that the main ingredient in most soda (after water) is some sort of sugar, whether that’s high fructose corn syrup or refined cane sugar.


To increase profit margins, many soda companies try to cut corners with their ingredients as much as they can, and that starts with their sweetener of choice.


When it was first produced, soda was sweetened with refined cane or beet sugar. However, due to tariffs, import quotas, and other economic factors over the years, refined sugar grew increasingly expensive in the United States.


In 1981, a law increasing tariffs on imported sugar raised the domestic price of sugar to twice its price on global markets.1 As a result, the big soda brands started to use more and more high fructose corn syrup, which was a cheaper and sweeter alternative to cane sugar—in their formulas, in an effort to cut down on costs. With corn subsidized by the U.S. government, this sugary syrup became a more affordable option for beverage companies.2

In November 1984, both Coca-Cola and Pepsi agreed that sugar prices were getting out of hand and decided to join forces to simultaneously announce that they would be replacing all of the cane sugar in their formulas with high fructose corn syrup.3 4 Following this announcement, the prevalence of corn syrup in our food supply skyrocketed. For the first time since the USDA Economic Research Service started tracking sweetener availability in 1970, corn sweetener availability exceeded that of refined sugar in 1985.5


High fructose corn syrup was by far the cheapest sweetener available for soft drink companies to use. On the other hand, OLIPOP uses real fruit juice, cassava root syrup, and stevia leaf extract to sweeten our sodas. These ingredients may be more costly, but they’re also linked to much more favorable outcomes for your health.


High fructose corn syrup consumption, particularly when used in soft drinks, has been linked to numerous health issues that range from metabolic disorder to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to obesity.6 OLIPOP uses stevia, a natural, zero-calorie sweetener derived from the leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana plant. Stevia is not stored in the body like high fructose corn syrup is, and thus does not affect blood sugar, nor is it ever stored as fat on the body. In fact, preliminary research suggests that there may even be benefits to using stevia beyond it being a zero-calorie alternative to highly-caloric refined sugar.7


2. Natural & Artificial Flavors


As you probably know, sodas get their taste from either (or both) natural and artificial flavors. These flavors are of course added to drinks to make them taste more appealing and interesting, and not just like the sugar that they’re mostly made of. These flavor extracts are chemical compounds or mixtures of compounds that are either derived from natural sources (“natural” flavors) or artificially synthesized in a lab without the need of any plant material (“artificial” flavors). While it’s possible for natural and artificial flavors to have the exact same chemical composition, the difference is that artificial flavors don’t require natural, more expensive sources to produce, making the end product cheaper.8


For instance, let's take a look at natural vanilla flavor, one of the flavors we use in our Classic Root Beer. Natural vanilla flavor is often derived from vanilla beans, which can only be obtained from hand-pollinated flowering orchids in only a few tropical areas. Artificial vanilla, on the other hand, is chemically synthesized in a lab at mass scale. Both methods result in the flavor compound vanillin, which is the vanilla taste you know and love, but the artificial method is much cheaper to use.9


3. Lack Of Health-Supporting Ingredients

You’re probably well-aware that most soda has no redeeming nutritional qualities, and that’s another reason why it’s so cheap. By contrast, OLIPOP is a new kind of soda that can actually support your health goals, and we do that by adding ingredients to our sparkling tonic that have been clinically shown to benefit your health.


For example, OLIPOP features OLISMART: our proprietary blend of 8 unique botanicals, plant fibers, and prebiotics (the primo food source for the beneficial bacteria that live in your gut microbiome), each hand-picked for their distinct biome-supporting benefits. We worked alongside leading microbiome researchers, such as Dr. Stephen Lindemann and Dr. Robert Britton, to select these ingredients to optimally deliver a microbiome-supporting bang in every can.


Ingredients in OLIPOP vs Regular Soda


Orange Squeeze Fanta
Water Carbonated Water Carbonated Water
Sweeteners

Cassava Root Syrup

Mandarin Juice Concentrate

Apple Juice Concentrate

Clementine Juice Concentrate

Stevia Leaf Extract

High Fructose Corn Syrup
Flavors

Natural Orange Flavor Extract

Himalayan Pink Salt

Natural Flavors
Preservatives Lemon Juice

Sodium Polyphosphates

Sodium Benzoate

Citric Acid

Texture None

Modified Food Starch

Glycerol Ester Of Rosin

Colors

Rose Hip Extract

Acerola Cherry Extract

Yellow 6
Microbiome-supporting ingredients

Cassava root

Chicory root inulin

Jerusalem artichoke inulin

Nopal cactus extract

Calendula flower extract

Kudzu Root extract

Marshmallow root extract

Slippery elm bark extract

None

What Ingredients Are In Regular Soda?

What are you putting in your body every time you sip on a can of regular soda? Let’s take a look at the ingredient list of a can of A&W Rootbeer:


  • Carbonated water
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Caramel color
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Quillaia extract

As you can see, most of these ingredients are highly-processed sugars, preservatives, and artificial flavors—yuck.


What Ingredients Are In OLIPOP?


Looking at the nutrition panel of a can of OLIPOP is vastly different. Let’s take our Classic Root Beer as an example:

  • Carbonated Water
  • OLISMART (Cassava Root Fiber, Chicory Root Inulin, Jerusalem Artichoke Inulin, Nopal Cactus*, Calendula Flower*, Kudzu Root*, Marshmallow Root*, Slippery Elm Bark*)
  • Cassava Root Syrup
  • Apple Juice Concentrate
  • Organic Natural Root Beer Flavor
  • Lemon Juice
  • Burdock Root
  • Stevia Leaf
  • Himalayan Pink Salt
  • Natural Vanilla Flavor
  • Sweet Birch

Ahh, that’s better. As you can see, you’ll never see high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors and preservatives in our cans. Instead, all our flavors contain no more than 5g of added sugar per can, and use natural sweeteners like cassava root syrup, real fruit juice, and stevia, and contain the added benefit of 9g of fiber.


Functions of OLIPOP vs Regular Soda

 


What you drink can do more for your body than hydrate it—in both positive and negative ways. Certain beverages, like OLIPOP, may support your health goals, while other drinks, like regular or diet soda, can do more harm than good.


Besides being a refreshing, thirst-quenching addition to your day, OLIPOP prebiotic soda can support a healthy lifestyle.


1. Supports Your Microbiome


There are very few systems in the body that affect as many parts of our overall health as the microbiome does. From regulating hormones to impacting your mood, the gut microbiome (a community of microbes, bacteria, fungi, and viruses that colonize our digestive tracts) is central to human health and the prevention of chronic diseases. Essentially—tending to your microbiome is key to helping you feel good, both physically and mentally.


One of the best ways to nourish your microbiome is by eating more prebiotic fiber.⁠ These prebiotic fibers are what feed the good probiotic bacteria that live in our gut, playing an essential role in helping them do their job to take care of us.


What makes OLIPOP stand out from the crowd is that we don’t just include 3 different prebiotic fibers in our recipe (we do: Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, and cassava root); our sodas contain them in scientifically-backed amounts that are substantial enough to actually make a difference.10 Just take a look at our nutrition panel—for example, you’ll notice our pop contains 9 grams of fiber, which is 4 more grams than what researchers have found to be the minimum necessary to support gut health. That’s more than double!


2. Contains ⅓ Your Daily Amount Of Fiber


Speaking of fiber, diets rich in high-fiber foods support optimal digestive health and have been shown to reduce your risk of developing a number of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease.11 Not bad, right?


There’s just one problem: 95% of American adults aren’t consuming enough fiber.12 On average, they eat ~16g of fiber per day, while the FDA recommends 28g per day.13 That massive deficiency is what nutritionists call the “fiber gap.”


OLIPOP is on a mission to help close the fiber gap; which is why every can of OLIPOP has 9g of dietary fiber (32% daily value), provided by our proprietary blend of three prebiotic fibers.


3. Lower In Sugar Than Soda


We think you’re sweet as can be, so your soda doesn’t have to be. There are 39 grams of sugar in a can of Coca-Cola and 140 calories, all from high fructose corn syrup. Yuck! The maximum amount of added sugar the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends you consume on a daily basis is 24 grams.14 A single can of Coke exceeds that number by 15 grams.15


OLIPOP is much (much) lower in sugar than conventional sodas; our Vintage Cola has only 2 grams of sugar, or 95% less sugar than a can of Coke. You won’t find any more than 5g of sugar in any flavor of OLIPOP—we promise.


4. Supports Healthy Digestion


Having tummy troubles? You’re not alone. 61% of Americans suffer from digestive issues.16 A large chunk of this is due to a lack of fiber in the Standard American Diet (SAD). The SAD is filled with saturated fats, sugars, and sodium—not exactly the best foods for the probiotics in our guts. A malnourished gut can't break down and distribute nutrients throughout the body like it's meant to. ⁠


That's why increasing fiber and lowering sugar is our mission here at OLIPOP, and is the best choice for you when trying to nurture your gut microbiome back to health.


5. Supports Immune Health


Squeeze away the sniffles! Our Orange Squeeze flavor packs in 160% DV of immune-supporting vitamin C thanks to the addition of real fruit like mandarin juice and clementine juice. No artificials here!


Functions of Regular soda


There are no redeeming qualities when it comes to the ingredients in regular soda, as they are almost entirely made up of water and added sugars. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, with there being a long list of negative health effects associated with regular soft drinks.


Drinking soda has been linked to an increase in risk of being overweight, type 2 diabetes, metabolic disease, depression, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, shortened lifespan, and more.17 18 19


Final Thoughts: Pricing of OLIPOP


OLIPOP may taste like the nostalgic sodas you’ve been sipping on your entire life, but it is a completely new kind of soda—one that supports a healthy lifestyle rather than putting you at risk of chronic diseases like regular soda does.


You would have to consume 2 apples, 2 bowls of oatmeal, or 59 almonds to get the same amount of fiber as a can of OLIPOP provides, and not all of that fiber is prebiotic.


Plus, by swapping your typical can of soda out for a can of OLIPOP you’re doubly supporting your health by removing a detrimental drink from your diet while replacing it with a beneficial one. Can you really put a price on your health?


Want to learn more about all the reasons why OLIPOP can be your healthier soda alternative? Check out OLIPOP Digest for all the latest resources, research, and information.


Sources

  1. Daniels, Lee A. “Coke, Pepsi to Use More Corn Syrup.” The New York Times, 7 Nov. 1984, p. 6.
  2. Philpott, Tom. “The Secret History of Why Soda Companies Switched From Sugar to High-Fructose Corn Syrup.” Mother Jones, 26 July 2019, www.motherjones.com/food/2019/07/the-secret-history-of-why-soda-companies-switched-from-sugar-to-high-fructose-corn-syrup.
  3. “Pepsi, Coke Turn to Corn Syrup.” United Press International, 6 Nov. 1984, www.upi.com/Archives/1984/11/06/Pepsi-Coke-turn-to-corn-syrup/2049468565200.
  4. O’Brien, Robyn. “How Coke and Pepsi Could Save Us From High Fructose Corn Syrup.” HuffPost, 17 Nov. 2011, www.huffpost.com/entry/why-coke-and-pepsi-should_b_707250.
  5. “Availability of Caloric Sweeteners Drops Nearly 19 Percent over Last 20 Years.” U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, 14 Jan. 2021, www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/chart-gallery/gallery/chart-detail/?chartId=101051.
  6. Meyers, Allison M., et al. “High Fructose Corn Syrup Induces Metabolic Dysregulation and Altered Dopamine Signaling in the Absence of Obesity.” PLOS ONE, edited by Ferenc Gallyas, vol. 12, no. 12, 2017. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190206.
  7. Arumugam, Balakrishnan, et al. “Stevia as a Natural Sweetener: A Review.” Cardiovascular & Hematological Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 18, no. 2, 2020, pp. 94–103. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.2174/1871525718666200207105436.
  8. “Section 101.22 Foods; labeling of spices, flavorings, colorings and chemical preservatives.” Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21 – Food and Drugs. Food And Drug Administration, Department Of Health And Human Services. April 1, 2010. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2010-title21-vol2/xml/CFR-2010-title21-vol2-sec101-22.xml (accessed April 6, 2022)
  9. Kennedy, C. Rose. “The Flavor Rundown: Natural vs. Artificial Flavors.” Harvard University: Science in the News, 21 Sept. 2015, sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/the-flavor-rundown-natural-vs-artificial-flavors.
  10. Slavin, Joanne. “Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits.” Nutrients, vol. 5, no. 4, 2013, pp. 1417–35. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5041417.
  11. Brownawell, Amy M., et al. “Prebiotics and the Health Benefits of Fiber: Current Regulatory Status, Future Research, and Goals.” The Journal of Nutrition, vol. 142, no. 5, 2012, pp. 962–74. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.112.158147.
  12. Quagliani, Diane, and Patricia Felt-Gunderson. “Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, vol. 11, no. 1, 2016, pp. 80–85. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827615588079.
  13. “Daily Value on the New Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 25 Feb. 2022, www.fda.gov/food/new-nutrition-facts-label/daily-value-new-nutrition-and-supplement-facts-labels.
  14. Johnson, Rachel K., et al. “Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health.” Circulation, vol. 120, no. 11, 2009, pp. 1011–20. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1161/circulationaha.109.192627.
  15. “Coca-Cola® Original.” Coca-Cola, us.coca-cola.com/products/coca-cola/original#. Accessed 6 Apr. 2022.
  16. Almario, Christopher V., et al. “Burden of Gastrointestinal Symptoms in the United States: Results of a Nationally Representative Survey of Over 71,000 Americans.” American Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 113, no. 11, 2018, pp. 1701–10. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41395-018-0256-8.
  17. Vartanian, Lenny R., et al. “Effects of Soft Drink Consumption on Nutrition and Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 97, no. 4, 2007, pp. 667–75. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2005.083782.
  18. Nseir, William. “Soft Drinks Consumption and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.” World Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 16, no. 21, 2010, p. 2579. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v16.i21.2579.
  19. Mullee, Amy, et al. “Association Between Soft Drink Consumption and Mortality in 10 European Countries.” JAMA Internal Medicine, vol. 179, no. 11, 2019, p. 1479. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.2478.
Cheat Sheet
  • OLIPOP contains ingredients that can help you live a healthier life, while cheaper sodas really only fill you up with empty calories that may have detrimental effects on your health
  • When you buy a can of soda, the reason you pay so little is because you’re getting so little—soda is essentially just water, sugar, preservatives, and flavoring

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