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    Jones Soda Switches To Pure Cane Sugar

    Beverage maker will can its use of high fructose corn syrup in the coming year.

    SEATTLE -- Looking for a marketing advantage, Jones Soda Co. is making the switch from high fructose corn syrup to pure cane sugar as a soda sweetener.

    Come Jan. 1, Seattle-based Jones Soda -- which makes root beer, cream soda and quirky drinks with such flavors as turkey and gravy -- will sell 12-ounce canned sodas with pure cane sugar. All of the company's products will make the switch by mid-2007.

    "It's better for you, it's better-tasting and, overall, it's better for the environment," Peter van Stolk, the company's chief executive officer told theSeattle Post-Intelligencer.

    The change comes at a time when high fructose corn syrup, which became a common sweetener for sodas in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has received negative publicity as being linked to obesity and diabetes. Even Oprah Winfrey, who wields influence over consumers, has encouraged viewers on her show to avoid high fructose corn syrup.

    Jones is following the lead of other small bottlers who are touting the use of pure cane sugar as making their products taste better, the newspaper said.

    "Jones Soda is a treat. It's an indulgence," van Stolk noted in theSeattle Post-Intelligencer report. "If you are going to sell a treat, you should make people feel good about it. Pure cane sugar has a different taste. It's a cleaner taste, and people feel good about it. It's a little thing. But in the beverage industry, it's really challenging to do."

    Van Stolk said his company is able to make the switch because Jones Soda remains a relatively small operation. He said major operations, such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, would have a difficult time making such a major conversion.

    In addition to sodas, Jones Soda develops, produces and markets ready-to-drink organic teas, citrus energy drinks and non-carbonated juices and teas.

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