Difference Between Coke and Pepsi

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: May 13, 2023


Difference Between Coke and Pepsi

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Coca-Cola and Pepsi the top two carbonated drink in the world! Even though now both are conglomerates, these two companies had a modest beginning they were both developed by pharmacists in the 19th century. Coca-cola was created with an addition of coca leaves and cola nuts to soda water. Pepsi was created with the addition of pepsin to soda water. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are beverages typically consumed with fast foods like burgers or fried chicken, or as a refreshment drink. Most people know of the fierce and often humorous advertisement wars between the two. These companies are each other’s top competitors and have been since the 20th century. It is not just the companies that are in this particular war, their fans are too! Although some people don’t have an exact preference between the two, you may meet some who have a die-hard loyalty to either Coca-Cola or Pepsi. They will only drink that particular brand and are often disappointed when a restaurant or fast-food joint doesn't have their favourite soft drink.

Even if you are a zealot of one brand, do you know how these two differ from each other?   This article explores the beginning of the two soft drinks, and how exactly they are different from one another.

Coke vs. Pepsi

Both Pepsi and Coke are carbonated soft drinks, with similar flavours.

Coke was invented first by Dr John S. Pemberton in 1886in Atlanta, Georgia. It was invented as a form of soft drink, which was extremely popular at those times. Currently, it is manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company. The drink has a vanilla-raisin-type flavour and it is less sweet than its competitor Pepsi. Coca-Cola has the bigger share of the cola market, but its revenue is less than Pepsi’s.

Pepsi was invented by Caleb D. Bradham in 1893. He invented the drink to help alleviate the pain of stomach ulcers. Currently, the drink is manufactured by PepsiCo. The ingredient which differentiates Pepsi from Coca-Cola is citrus flavour. Pepsi is also sweeter than Coca-Cola. Pepsi only has a 31% share in the cola market, but it generates greater annual revenue than Coca-Cola.

Difference Between Coke and Pepsi in Tabular Form

Parameters of ComparisonCokePepsi
Invented byDr. John S. PembertonCaleb D. Bradham
Invented in18861898
ManufacturerThe Coca-Cola CompanyPepsiCo
Original ingredientsCoca leaves and kola nutsPepsin
FlavourSweetSweeter than coke
Amount of sugar39mg41mg
Calories per can160150
Cola market share42 percentage31 percentage
Annual revenue3.2 billion dollars57.8 billion dollars
Money spent on advertisements2 billion dollars1.1 billion dollars
Other brands ownedTaB, Fanta, Fruitopia, Miute Maid, Nestea, CaprisunTropicana, Mountain Dew, Lays, Doritos, Quaker, Cheetos, 7up, Aquafina, Lipton

What is Coke?

Coke is a carbonated soft drink that had its beginning in 1886. It is manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company. The tagline used by the company to promote the drink is “Real Magic.”

History of Coca-cola

Dr John S. Pemberton, a pharmacist working out of Atlanta, Georgia, concocted coke in the May of 1886. During that period soda water was a very popular drink. Shop owners used to add a variety of ingredients to the mineral water they sold. One day, Dr Pemberton decided to add a mixture of coca leaf (nerve tonic and stimulant) and kola nut (stimulant) to the soda water. He took his concoction to a pharmacy that was down the street, named Jacob’s Pharmacy. The owner did a taste test and approved it. He then placed the drink on sale for five cents.

Frank M. Robinson was Dr Pemberton's partner and bookkeeper. He thought the two “Cs” would look good together and put forth the name “Coca-Cola.

Alas, Dr Pemberton never knew the true prospect of his drink. Over the years he sold off parts of his soda business, selling the last remaining amount to Asa G. Candler in 1892. It was Candler, who turned Coke into the giant corporation it is today.

Other historical milestones of Coca-Cola

  • 1900- The first celebrity endorsement of Coke.
  • 1904- Annual sales of Coca-Cola surpassed 1 million gallons (3785411.78 litres)
  • 1906- Coca-Cola bottling operation started in Cuba, Panama, and Canada
  • 1906-  Affiliation with D’Arcy Advertisement Company
  • 1907- endorsement of the products by athletes
  • Coca-Cola bottling operations began in 1912
  • 1915- fashions the contour bottle
  • 1916- Asa Candler retires, going on to become the mayor of Atlanta
  • 1919- opens bottling operations in Europe (Paris, Bordeaux)
  • 1919- Coca-Cola Company bought by Ernest Woodruff along with a group of investors for 23 million dollars                                 
  • 1923- Robert W. Woodruff becomes president of Coca-Cola, a position he occupies for 60+ years.
  • 1938- branches out into Australia, South Africa, Austria and Norway
  • 1945- the term “Coke”, becomes an official registered trademark of Coca-Cola
  • 1946- Coca-Cola increases its price from 5 cents.
  • 1950- Coca-Cola gets its first TV commercial. It was broadcast on Thanksgiving Day.
  • 1953- The song “coke time,” gets launched on TVs and radios.
  • 1956- Coca-Cola changes advertisement companies from D’Arcy to McCann Erickson, Inc
  • 1959- Coca-Cola was selling products in more than 100 countries
  • 1960- buys “The Minute Maid Corporation”
  • 1961- gets featured in a film
  • 1961- invents and distributes sprite
  • 1962- Becomes public. Shares sold a 101 dollars per share
  • 1963- commencement of “Tab” as a diet drink
  • 1936- Coca-Cola Company starts the advertising with the phrase "Things go better with Coke"
  • 1965- promotes the first animated T.V series
  • 1969- sets in motion its classic red and white appearance
  • 1969- New slogan “It’s the real thing”

Ingredients that make up the Coca-Cola

The soda drink Coca-Cola is made up of certain specific ingredients that give it its special flavour, these are

  1. Taking up the lion’s share of the drink is carbonated water at 90% of the total drink. The water used in the drink is carbonated using purified carbon dioxide.
  2. Coming in second place in terms of quantity is sugar. A single 12-ounce (340 grams) can of Coca-Cola has approximately 39 grams of sugar. The sugar used can be high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose. Diet Coke and Coca-Cola zero sugar is however said to be sugar-free.
  3. Next would be the ingredient that gives Coca-Cola its specific colour, caramel colour. For this, the Coca-Cola Company has a discrete caramel (E150d) made for its drinks.
  4. In addition to its sweet flavour, Coca-Cola also has a bit of a sour taste. This is due to the addition of phosphoric acid in the drink.
  5. The next ingredient is caffeine; it gives Coke its slightly bitter taste.
  6. In addition to all these, Coca-Cola has its secret ingredients which make Coca-Cola the drink it is. The secret ingredient consists of a special mix of certain natural flavours. The ingredients used here are highly safeguarded, with the original document being kept in SunTrust Bank's vault in Atlanta.

Initial ingredients of Coke

Fluid extract of coco4 ounce
Citric acid3 oz
Caffeine1oz of citrate caffeine
Water2.5 gal
Lime juice1 grt
Vanilla1 oz
CaramelColour sufficient
Flavour2.5 oz
Alcohol1 grt
Orange oil80
Lemon oil120
Nutmeg oil40
Coriander oil20
Neroli oil40
Cinnamon oil40
1 ounce (oz) = 28.41 ml1 pound (lbs) = 453.5 grams1 gallon= 4.546 litre1 gross register tonnage (grt)= 1 ton/ 1000kg

Different flavour choices offered by Coke

Coca-ColaDiet Coke (Coca-Cola light)
New Coke (Coke II)Diet coke plus
Coca-cola C2Coca-Cola zero
Caffeine free Coca-ColaCaffeine-free diet coke           
Coca-Cola cherryDiet coke cherry
Coca-Cola with LemonDiet Coke with lemon
Coca-Cola VanillaDiet Coca-Cola Vanilla
Coca-Cola black cherry vanillaDiet Coke cherry vanilla
Coca-Cola with limeDiet Coke with lime
Coca-Cola with orangeCoca-Cola Blak
Coca-Cola raspberryDiet coke raspberry
Coca-Cola cherry zeroTab (original diet Coke)

What is Pepsi?

Pepsi is a carbonated soft drink introduced in 1893 by Caleb D. Bradham. The drink is currently manufactured by PepsiCo. Pepsi’s current tagline to attract consumers is “Rise Up Baby!”

History of Pepsi

Caleb D. Bradham was a pharmacist and a soda fountain proprietor. During the 1890s, he concocted a drink to help soothe dyspepsia (upset stomach) and to alleviate the suffering caused by peptic ulcers. He called this drink “Brad’s drink.” The drink was renamed Pepsi-Cola in 1898 and then finally Pepsi in 1961. Over time the drink garnered popularity and sales increased. However, after World War I tragedy struck and the company ended up going bankrupt. Eventually, Charles Guth ended up buying the brand.

After its acquisition, Guth devised strategies to make Pepsi compete with Coca-Cola. He recreated the drink to make its flavour almost identical to Coca-Cola's. Then he started selling them at half the price at which cola was selling. During the Great Depression, Cola refused to lower its prices because of the power it held in the market. This led to an increase in the number of buyers for Pepsi. In time Pepsi gained popularity and loyal customers. In 1950, Pepsi got a 10% of the shares in the US carbonated soft drinks market. After its success, Pepsi ditched its strategy of selling at half price and increased its rates. Since then the two companies, Pepsi and Coca-cola have been engaged in advertising wars which continue to this day.

Other historical milestones of Pepsi

  • 1910- Gets sanction in 24 states. Sales surpass 100000 gallons per year
  • 1923- Declares bankruptcy. World War I led to an increase in sugar prices and Pepsi could not keep up.
  • 1928- Craven Holdings Corp buys Pepsi-Cola Company.
  • 1931- declares bankruptcy for the second time in history
  • Charles G. Guth buys out Pepsi
  • 1933- marketing strategy of Guth, selling 12-ounce bottles for 5 cents
  • 1938- Pepsi-cola hires Walter S. Mack as its president
  • 1939- First advertisement jingle “Nickel Nickel,” later renamed as “Pepsi-cola hits the spot”
  • 1940- buys sugar plantation in Cuba
  • 1941- designs new look with red, white and blue logo
  • 1945- sale of Pepsi in cans
  • 1950- Joan Crawford changes the path of Pepsi's marketing.
  • 1958- Invents the “swirl” bottle.
  • 1958- new advertisement campaign “Be sociable have a Pepsi
  • 1958- Gains consumers in 120 countries.
  • 1959- first advertisement campaign for youth “Now it's Pepsi for those who think young
  • 1961- Advertisement campaign “Come Alive! You're in the Pepsi Generation
  • 1964- introduction of Diet Pepsi
  • 1964- buys out Mountain Dew
  • 1965- starts selling canned soda
  • 1965- Pepsi company unifies with Frito-Lay, Inc, thus becoming PepsiCo
  • 1966- starts work in Japan and Europe
  • 1969- Designs new outlook with a bold red, blue and white

What goes into making the classic drink

  1. Carbonated water
  2. Sugar
  3. Colour (caramel E150d)
  4. Acid (Phosphoric Acid0
  5. Caffeine
  6. Sweeteners (Sucralose, Acesulfame K)

Initial ingredients of Pepsi

Sugar7500 lbs
Caramel12 gal
Water1200 gal
Lime juice12 gal.
Phosphoric acid58 lbs
Alcohol1 gal
Cinnamon oil4 oz
Lemon oil6 oz
Nutmeg oil2 oz
Orange oil5 oz
Coriander oil2 oz
Petitgrain1 oz
1 ounce (oz) = 28.41 ml1 pound (lbs) = 453.5 grams1 gallon= 4.546 litre1 gross register tonnage (grt)= 1 ton/ 1000kg

Different flavour choices offered by Pepsi

PepsiPepsi diet
Wild cherry PepsiDiet wild cherry Pepsi
Caffeine free PepsiCaffeine-free diet Pepsi
Pepsi limeDiet Pepsi lime
Pepsi maxPepsi one
Pepsi throwbackPepsi next
Pepsi Jazz (strawberry and cream)Pepsi Jazz (black cherry and French vanilla)
Pepsi twist (lemon)Diet Pepsi twist (lemon)
Pepsi samba (sold in Australia)Pepsi summer mix
Pepsi XHoliday spice
Crystal PepsiBlue Pepsi

Main Differences between Coke and Pepsi (in Points)

  • Coca-Cola was invented first, by Pemberton in 1886. Pepsi was invented almost a decade later by Bradham in 1898.
  • Coke is manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company. Pepsi is manufactured by PepsiCo.
  • In terms of sweetness, Pepsi is sweeter than Coke.
  •  A can of Coca-Cola contains about 160 calories, while a can of Pepsi contains approximately 150 calories.
  • Pepsi is differentiated from Coke by the drink's citrusy flavour. Coke tends to have a vanilla-raisin-type flavour.
  • The Coca-Cola Company has 42% of the cola market share. In contrast, Pepsi has 31%.


In short, the top two carbonated drinks Coca-Cola and Pepsi have many unique features. Both had humble beginnings and are now huge conglomerates. A few things that people use to tell the drinks apart are the sweet flavour and the citrusy flavour of Pepsi. Pepsi is comparatively sweeter than Coca-Cola; this is also one reason why some people may prefer Pepsi to Coke.

In addition to their famous carbonated drinks, the two companies also own numerous other brands. Some of the brands owned by Coca-Cola are TaB, Fanta, Fruitopia, Miute Maid, Nestea, Caprisun, etc. Pepsi is the owner of Tropicana, Mountain Dew, Lays, Doritos, Quaker, Cheetos, 7up, Aquafina, Lipton, etc.


  • https://www.coca-colacompany.com/company/history/the-birth-of-a-refreshing-idea
  • https://vinepair.com/articles/coca-cola-vs-pepsi-explained/
  • https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/difference-between-pepsi-vs-coke-which-is-most-popular
  • https://www.rd.com/article/flavor-difference-between-pepsi-coca-cola/
  • https://www.businessinsider.com/soda-wars-coca-cola-pepsi-history-infographic-2011-11?IR=T#the-saga-began-in-1886-when-john-s-pemberton-developed-the-original-recipe-for-coke-heres-what-was-in-it-1
  • https://www.coca-cola.co.uk/our-business/faqs/what-are-the-ingredients-of-coca-cola-classic
  • https://pepsi.co.uk/products/pepsi
  • https://www.thoughtco.com/the-ingredients-and-their-function-in-coke-explained-3976096


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"Difference Between Coke and Pepsi." Diffzy.com, 2024. Mon. 10 Jun. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-coke-and-pepsi-1314>.

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