Why do soda manufacturers add caffeine to their products?

  • According to the industry, it’s a flavor enhancer.
  • According to researchers at SUNY,  it’s because caffeine makes you crave their product, buy their product and drink their product.

And that sounds a little shady, doesn’t it?

The Science

Researchers hypothesized that “adolescents who repeatedly consume a new and unfamiliar drink that contains caffeine would like that beverage more over time, but that adolescents who drank an unfamiliar beverage without caffeine would show no change in their preference.”

To test that hypothesis, adolescents aged 12-17 visited the SUNY laboratory multiple times.

    • During each visit, they sampled an unfamiliar soda drink and rated their liking or preference for that beverage.
    • The sodas contained varying amounts of caffeine, and the caffeinated or non-caffeinated versions were varied across participants.


  • Over repeated testing days, participants increased their liking of the soda with the highest levels of caffeine, whereas there was no change in preference for sodas with low or no caffeine.


Your craving for a Diet Coke has little to do with the taste….it’s the caffeine.