In preparation for self-quarantine and shelter in place declarations, people all over the world loaded shopping cars full of things they thought they would need if they were stuck at home. The line from the cashiers at a local HEB stretched through the frozen foods aisle to the back of the store, those necessary items visible for everyone to see. Most carts had cleaning supplies, frozen food, sandwich meat, and sliced bread, but many added a few cases of Dr Pepper to their necessary items. This isn’t the first time Dr Pepper was deemed necessary for survival.
One of the longest-running Dr Pepper slogans is “Drink a Dr Pepper at 10, 2, and 4 o’Clock.” Paired with slogans like “Good for Life” and “Drink a Bite to Eat” this campaign implied that it was healthy to drink those 23 flavors three times a day, every day. Today, this seems unbelievable, but soft drinks began as health drinks sold at pharmacies like a medicine. With the public’s belief that Dr Pepper was healthy, it became a necessary item during World War II.
During World War II, the country struggled to share limited food and resources among its citizens and companies. Sugar rations were among the most common limitations around the world; this can be detrimental to industries like that of the soft drink industry who depended on sugar to create their product. But the Dr Pepper Company found an innovative solution. Armed with their popular slogan, “Drink a Bite to Eat at 10, 2, and 4 o’Clock”, the company argued that it benefited the war effort to allow Dr Pepper to have its sugar. They said that people working in the factories needed to drink Dr Pepper three times a day so they could have enough energy to make the much-needed supplies and ensure the Allies’ success.
As surprising as it seems, Dr Pepper was allotted less stringent sugar rations during World War II, because it was deemed necessary for the country’s overall success. Today, it is common knowledge that Dr Pepper is not a health drink and the company uses slogans like “So Nice to Treat You” that clearly identify the beloved drink as a treat. During this trying time, Dr Pepper has been a key part of many people’s quarantine routine, not because it is healthy, but because it is a treat that brightens up their day