"I'd be amazed if they are drinking a full sugar based product," former PepsiCo (PEP) - Get Report and Apple (AAPL) - Get Report CEO John Sculley told TheStreet when asked if kids would be drinking regular soda 10 to 20 years down the line. In fact, Sculley -- who rose to fame for his top notch marketing skills at PepsiCo that landed him the CEO job within 10 years - almost apologizes for making the space so hot.
"When I was in the beverage industry, Coca-Cola (KO) - Get Report , Pepsi, McDonald's (MCD) - Get Report , Wendy's (WEN) - Get Report these were the sexy companies to work for -- I think of it now, and I was selling sugar water to kids and today they are getting obese. I was launching the first two liter plastic bottle and now it has issues about what we do about our landscape. I started PepsiCo's business internationally to sell snack foods -- look what's happening today, we have hundreds of millions of people taking in these high triglyceride oils into their stomach," Sculley said.
He added, "It doesn't look like such a cool industry anymore." It seems like many consumers agree.
Soda consumption in the United States fell to a 31-year low in 2016, according to Beverage Digest. Sales of carbonated soft drinks -- mostly full sugar soda -- fell 0.8% last year. Sculley does credit companies such as PepsiCo and Coca-Cola for expanding into healthier beverages and snacks, but thinks the packaged goods space will need more cost cuts given the industry's slow growth.
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