Monday, February 15, 2010

How To: Choose Your Favorite Soft Drink

You may call it soda, you may call it pop, you might even refer to it generically as "coke" (see this map for more information), nonetheless most of us drink it frequently. With every day, the choice for soft drinks on the market expands, and once in a while we need to reevaluate our brand loyalty. Maybe you have yet to find the comfort in a familiar fizzy drink; maybe you are thinking about expanding from your standard and discovering a new favorite. Either way, the task may be daunting, so let us consider the process by which you can decide once and for all your favorite soft drink.

1. Diet or Regular?
This did not always used to be the first question, but with the increased awareness of calories and the increased selection of diet alternatives, I am putting this question first. Are calories that important to you? Do you find you notice a taste difference between diet and regular? Does regular taste like syrup or refreshly sweet? Does diet taste crisp or metallic? If have been loyal to regular drinks in the past, would you consider the switch?
Side note: in choosing Regular, also consider the taste of frutouse corn syrup verses cane sugar sweetenings. Some people insist there is a taste and health difference between the two.

2. Cola, Fruit or Spice?
This question may take the longest amount of time, because there is the widest selection. However, after the decision from question one that should help to narrow our search options. There are three broad types, with the first two being cola (dark in color, orgionally made from the cola nuts), fruit (transparent or bright colors, most popular flavor is lemon lime). The last catagory is harder to define, though I am going to call it "spice colas." The two popular examples are Dr Pepper and root beer, but there are ginger beers, cinemon, and curry flavors out there. To wade through these choices let's start here: How intense do you like the flavor to be? What foods do you normally have your soft drink with? What compliments your favorite foods and situtations the best?

3. Final Decision: Brand
Finally, brand loyalty is a key objective for this process. Which company do you want to support with your dollar? You might make your decision on which color packaging is most appealing: red, blue, green? Do you want a popular ease-to-access option or do you prefer the more eccentric brands? You might consider the kinds of commercials you have seen (if any) and what celebrities were in them. Ethical questions of a company's past history, business practices are something to consider (you would be surprised to see the different industries the major players are in). Also, would you utilize promotional programs like Coke Rewards?

The most important element is that you are satifisied with your decision. Once you have decided on your favorite brand of soda, you can relax as that is one less decision in your life you have weighing on your mind.

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