Does the Pepsi Challenge really work?

THE Coke/Pepsi rivalry is a long standing affair, with people picking sides and staying loyal to one brand.

Yet to many people, the drinks are almost identical in taste, with simply marketing and packaging setting them apart.

Since 1975 Pepsi have run a marketing promotion named the “Pepsi test” where members of the public taste unknown samples of both Coke and Pepsi and choose their preference.

The Pepsi challenge was created to help explore the differences between the two drinks.
The Pepsi challenge was created to help explore the differences between the two drinks.

Results from the test have consistently showed a preference of Pepsi over Coke although Coke still proves to be the most popular of drinks in terms of sales.

However author, Malcom Gladwell, criticises that there is a “scientific” reason for the preference of Pepsi over Coke.

“There is a clear flavour difference between the two drinks he explains, with Pepsi having a sweeter more citrusy taste, whilst Coke has a more vanilla-raisin flavour.

His book, Blink, delves into the logical reasons behind intuitions and gut feelings.

Gladwell explains Pepsi is a lot sweeter that coke, so takes the upper hand as people “have a bias for sweetness in a sip.”

Therefore, drinking an entire bottle is a better comparison as the sweetness can become overpowering.

Although Pepsi is often a favourite Coca Cola still manage to beat the company in sales.
Although Pepsi is often a favourite Coca Cola still manage to beat the company in sales.

Malcom writes in his book: “Coke has gone head to head with Pepsi with a product that taste tests say is inferior, and Coke is still the number one soft drink in the world. This story is a good illustration of how complicated it is to find out what people really think.”

When you look at the nutritional information for each drink Pepsi contains 41 grams of sugar whilst Coke contains 35 grams, demonstrating that Pepsi clearly does have more sugar, and can support Gladwell’s reasoning for the preference.

By Flo Bevis (@flobevis95) , Ryan Cook, Sophie White (@sophiewhitemmj) and Aimee Barnes (@Aimseea)