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Big Food Has Some Big Problems: Former Pepsi CEO

The soda industry has gone through its fair share of beatings over the last ten years, leaving many to wonder about its future. TheStreet sat down with former Pepsi CEO John Sculley to get his thoughts on the future of soda.
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The future may not include drinking an ice cold can of full-calorie soda. 

"I'd be amazed if they are drinking a full sugar based product," former PepsiCo (PEP) and Apple (AAPL) 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) , Pepsi, McDonald's (MCD) , Wendy's (WEN) 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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More from our interview with Sculley: