Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, Pepsi-Cola Made with Real Sugar remains challenging to find. I haven’t seen 12 oz. cans in any grocery store since 3Q 2021 and plastic bottles since 2020. The 7.5 oz cans have occasionally disappeared form shelves as well.

PepsiCo’s official messaging is non-specific and has not been updated since 2020:

With more people staying at home, we’ve seen an increased demand for many of our beverages. We know that you may be having trouble finding some of our products and we are diligently working to ensure our production and inventory keep pace with the heightened demand. If you’re experiencing this problem, we regret that we’re unable to confirm when a specific product will be back on shelves near you.

Why is it so difficult to find my favorite flavor of Pepsi in my area?

Pepsi-Cola Made with Real Sugar in 12 oz. cans disappeared in 2020 as well before reappearing in summer 2021. That was short-lived though, maybe 3 months of availability.

Now I know how Andre the Giant felt

Why?

PepsiCo is light on specifics, though the oft-mentioned “supply chain” challenges seems to be a reasonable catch-all.

  • Aluminum shortages – there are not a lot of aluminum cans to go round right now (Wine Enthusiast). Craft beer is getting hit hard. It’s also one of the reasons why some brewers switched to stickers for labels. You should remove those when you recycle too.
  • As with other products, the pandemic shifted business from “institutional” to consumer. Instead of shipping out boxes of syrup to food service, beverage makers had to pivot to individuals. We’re still in between the two extremes and probably will be for some time. Omicron isn’t helping.
  • Labor – Is Pepsi finding enough people to work at current compensation levels?

This is mostly speculation, though I welcome mass media to provide a well-researched look at this issue. I’ll share it if I see it.

Pepsi-Cola Made with Real Sugar history

Pepsi acquired pouring rights to Verizon Center, Capital One Arena the Cap Centre in 2012

Other thoughts

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