Does Canned Soda Taste Different Than Bottled Soda?

  • By: Max S.
  • Date: December 23, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Many people drink soda, and I’m aware that is an understatement. It is known by different names in different regions, but whether you’re drinking a coke, pop, soda, fizzy drink, or soft drink, it’s all the same. Read here to know what British people call soda.

With the US marketing over 450 different soft drink brands, it’s no surprise that one in every four beverages drunk in America is a soda. In fact, there’s a high probability you’ve had a soda this week already.

These large amounts of soda are commonly drunk in different packages, usually in the easily accessible packaging option, which may mean drinking soda in plastic bottles, glass bottles, or cans. 

However, in some cases, lovers of soda only purchase it in a specific packaging option because they think the taste of the soft drink is affected by its package. Specifically, many people purchase bottled soft drinks because they feel canned drinks are mild in their flavor and others prefer canned sodas for the same reason.

Is this crazy? Or Is there some truth to it? Meanwhile, soda producers say that the taste of their product does not depend on the packaging it comes in. 

Packaging of beverages has evolved over the years from the use of strangely-shaped inert glass bottles to skillfully-designed plastic bottles and cans of different forms. However, with this evolution came many changes to packages that can alter our soft drinks and may have other detrimental effects.

So, if you think canned soda tastes different than bottled soda, you are not crazy, and it’s not just your taste buds. Read on to find out how bottles and cans affect soda taste.

How Does the Packaging of Soda Affect Its Taste?

Even though soda manufacturers claim that containers have nothing to do with soft drinks except serve as carriers, millions of taste buds disagree, and science proves otherwise.

Furthermore, since sodas in cans and bottles are made with the same ingredients and recipe, the slight change in the taste of your Dr Pepper is most likely not associated with its 23 flavor combination. So, all points to the container. 

Soft drinks are packaged in plastic bottles, glass bottles, or cans, and below I explain how these different packages affect the soda taste.

Canned Soda

Canned Soda

According to experts and lovers of soda, canned soft drinks taste mild compared to their bottled versions. This mildness of taste is attributed to the polymer coating inside aluminium cans carrying soft drinks.

During assembly, the insides of aluminium cans are coated with a water-based polymer that ensures the soda does not corrode the can, as this will give the soda a deep metallic taste. 

Ironically, this polymer is responsible for the changes in the taste of canned soda because it mixes with soft drinks inside the can and absorbs a small number of soluble chemicals from the soda, thereby altering the flavor.

Bottled Soda (Plastic)

Frequent drinkers of soda observe that when plastic sodas are subjected to conditions such as heat or light, they no longer retain their fresh taste. 

While plastic bottles are not coated with polymers, they are made with certain chemicals that can alter the taste of soda. Acetaldehyde is a chemical used to form plastic bottles that can mix with soft drinks in the bottle and alter their taste.

Also, the high permeability of plastic bottles allows the content to be easily altered, which is why plastic-bottled drinks quickly lose their fizz compared to cans and glass bottles.

Bottle Soda (Glass)

Glass Bottled Soda

Glass is inert, so they offer a neutral option for packaging soft drinks. When drinking from glass bottles, you can rest assured that no chemicals are transferred to your soft drink. 

What’s more, these bottles trap the fizz in sodas better than plastic bottles and cans, which contributes to preserving the taste of soft drinks. Experts and soda lovers agree that glass bottles are the least likely to alter the soda flavor and allow for a uniform taste.

Other factors influencing soft drinks’ taste in cans and bottles are best before dates, storage period, heat, and light. Personal reasons may also affect the taste as some people have sensitive taste buds or taste the metal outside the can before drinking.

Why Is Canned Better Than Plastic Bottles?

Some people have strong feelings about how their soda comes. In most cases, preferences are personal and have nothing to do with the soda content or taste. However, because canned soft drinks have a milder taste, people may choose them over plastic bottles. 

In addition, they are more portable, which makes them easier to carry around than plastic bottles. Another reason people choose cans over plastic bottles is that plastic bottles are more affected by heat, storage conditions, and light than aluminium cans. 

Also, plastic sodas lose their fizz faster than canned sodas. It is important to note that sodas in plastic bottles are also altered slightly by a chemical, acetaldehyde, just like a polymer coating in the can affects canned soda

Why Are Glass Bottles Better?

Glass is chemically inactive, hence, glass bottles do not react with their content. To maintain a constant taste of soda and safer storage, you should package or store it with glass bottles.

By preserving the carbonation of soda for long periods, glass bottles allow your soda to be in the same state as you left it even after long periods.

Why Does Coca-cola Taste Better In a Can Than Plastic Bottle?

Why Does Coca-cola Taste Better In a Can Than Plastic Bottle?

As mentioned earlier, it’s usually a matter of preference. People prefer cans because they are portable and retain their coldness more than plastic bottles.

The taste from the two containers is only slightly different even though they are altered in different ways, however, people may prefer canned soda for its mild taste.

Why Does Soda Taste Better Cold?

Taking your soda cold is more refreshing, and really, it just tastes right. But that is not the only reason people prefer a cold soda. According to a Yale School of Medicine Study, the action and sensation of drinking quenches your thirst more than any other form of rehydration. 

And this sensation is enhanced if the drink temperature is different from your mouth temperature because your nerves are stimulated. Cold also reduces the excessive sweetness of some drinks, allowing them to be enjoyed more.

What Is the Best Way To Drink Soda?

Several millions of people drink a type of soda daily from many packages and in many mixtures. However, the best way to drink soda is in a glass bottle when thoroughly chilled or in a standard glass cup over ice cubes. 

If you want to store for a while before drinking, purchasing a glass bottle allows you to enjoy the undiluted flavor of your soda whenever you drink it—other great ways to drink soda include plastic bottles, Mexican bottles, cans, or fountains.

Sodas are also great as mixers in cocktails and ice cream floats and are perfect for homemade slushies.

Read here to know the different cocktails you can make from soda and alcohol.

Conclusion

Soda is drunk in different containers, but because of its slightly different tastes, people prefer some packaging options over others.

While canned soda tastes mild compared to its bottled version because of the polymer coating on the insides of aluminium cans, plastic bottled sodas are affected as chemicals from plastic bottles alter the flavor of soda. But canned soda is seemingly loved more than plastic soda because of its portability, ability to retain cold, and provision of a better storage option.

However, glass bottles offer the best way to drink your soda because they are chemically inactive and allow you to enjoy its pure flavor. Glass bottles have other advantages, like retaining soda carbonation and providing a lasting storage option. 

So, purchase a canned and bottled soda today, note the difference (if you haven’t before), and select your preference.