If you assume that people have the same values as the author and want to establish their class credentials by buying from a minor player, then it's proper to conclude that the only reason they buy from the big three is that they have no other choice. If you assume that most people follow their friends' tastes, are responsive to advertising, and don't care much about the minor differences in taste between one sugary drink and another of the same kind, then you can restore common sense and say yes, if there's a beverage on a shelf in a store with a price on it, then anyone who walks by it has a real, non-illusory choice between that beverage and another one. They drink Coke and Dr Pepper because their social norms don't oblige them to take a symbolic stand against the financial dominance and boring aesthetics of major corporations. Their desires and norms tell them to drink a mainstream, ubiquitous brand.
Such severe limitations in scope should be mentioned up front, not relegated to a "methods" section.
(* every supermarket in the rich parts of Buenos Aires, that is.)
But with soda? Isn't the total variety of offerings more important than than variety of companies?
Nope. Imagine, as a nonsensical example, that Coca-Cola decided to put pesticides in all their products. Quick, which drinks do you avoid?
It may not be such a nonsensical example. We saw a very similar thing last year, when cat and dog food started causing renal failure in pets. It turns out that the majority of the pet food brands you find in the grocery store-- even the cheap, knock-off brands-- are manufactured by a tiny handful of companies, most of which all sourced their wheat from the same Chinese company.
As a result, it took weeks to nail down every brand that could kill your pet, and more affected brands were cropping up every day. We ended up switching to a "whitelisted" brand during the fiasco, which did not set well with our dog's delicate constitution.
Even the retailers could not (or would not) keep up. We saw known-affected brands sitting on shelves at Wal-Mart and the local grocer throughout this fiasco.
Even if this is something to be worried about, I'm not sure there is anything that could/should be done about it. People like these brands and the products they make and thats why the sell 80% of all soda.
Maybe we should be cognizant of the fact, and it is possible that is all you were saying, but anything beyond that I'm not sure is a good idea.
Just my ramblings.
Anyway, the value of independent organizations is bad ideas are less likely to propagate between them.
Honest Tea is the name of the smaller company.
What you want is a diversity of wholesale suppliers, not a diversity of end product creators, if you're looking for ingredient purity.
That may be a ridonculous comparison, but when you take into account the way the Coke's and Pepsi's of the world are able to dominate - by controlling distribution, by copying new ideas - you might start to see parallels in the software world.
I'm likely in the minority, but I'd actually rather pay my dollars to the Tweeties, Shopifys, or Smile on my Macs of the world than the Twitters, Facebooks, or Apples. It's just more fun.
The result? A lot of different beverages, and plenty of alternatives for people afraid they'll get caught drinking the same thing the guy in front of them at the supermarket bought.