Tag Archives: Coca Cola

Coca-Cola and Their Obesity Response

Riffing off of Marion Nestle’s recent post about Coca-Cola, marketing, and obesity, I think that it’s not a problem that Coca-Cola should be a participant in the conversation about the growing of America’s waistline. Hell, the more companies involved in such discussions, the better off we would all be.

That being said, the Coca-Cola company, nor any corporation for that matter, should solely drive the discussion, at least not without chance of proper questions to be asked of them and their own presumed culpability in the matter.

There in lies the dissonance. Companies like Coca-Cola don’t want a dialogue. It might put the company at risk, which in turn, puts their stock at risk, something that is a big no-no in the corporate world. It’s far, far better, from their point of view, to get in front of the debate, and lead it in the direction where questions surrounding their marketing, health claims, and pricing strategies simply do not get asked.

The result of this is silliness such as Coke’s Live Positively website, designed to give the impression that they care about the obesity issue. Yet, if you look around this site, the one unequivocal answer to helping consumers reduce caloric intake, i.e. drink less soda, is not mentioned once.

In fact, the opposite is true. Looking at their section on Active Healthy Living, Coke promotes guiding principles: Think, Drink, and Move. You’ll note that “Drink” comes before “Move”. You’ll also note that when clicking on the “Drink” link, it takes you to one of their many branding pages, where they boast of their “500 beverage brands inclusive of more than 3,500 beverages”, many of which are no where near what one would consider a healthy choice for consumption.

I’ve said this before about McDonald’s, and it holds true for Coca-Cola: Creating an illusion that their products are healthy is a difficult one to maintain in the long run. When your primary product is sugar water, and you major goal for your sugar water is to have people consume it in excess, it’s difficult to hold the position that Coke’s interest is equitable to the interest of those trying to be healthy.

It has to be a difficult position for Coke to be in. After all, they can’t just say that their products are little more than empty calories. They can’t imply that their beverages are little more than an affordable luxury item. But this is exactly what they are. They have the science to prove it. As do we.

They know this. They just can’t say it. And when a company cannot be free to speak to the facts when engaging in dialogue, for fear of adversely affecting their stock prices, they become a dishonest broker of information in the national discussion.

Things I did not know…Coca Cola has opened a coffeeshop

Clearly they’ve learned how profitable three dollar lattes are, and are now trying to slice into the Starbucks pie. Their business’s shtick? That they are more ‘green’ than the Mermaid.

As expected, the anti-Coke crowd has chimed in, stating that Coke is intentionally meeting only the barest of standards in order to take credit for being green.

Jennifer Wright, founder of Green Shift, which pioneered the biodegradable coffee cup now found in over 150 Toronto businesses, isn’t impressed. “They don’t have enough to brag about. They are basically appeasing people with the bare minimum,” she says.

Which surprises her how?

To be honest, if the anti-Coke crowd wishes to stain the reputation of Far Coast’s new venture, simply keep reminding people that it’s owned by Coca-Cola. Telling consumers that Far Coast is only slightly more ethical than Starbucks isn’t going to do anything. Coca-Cola, as a brand name, is far more shadier and disreputable.

Thanks Jack!

tags technorati : Food Politics Coca Cola

Deep Fried Coke: Why all the Hate?

I know, I know. I’ve knocked down fair food before. But I’ll let you in on a secret – there’s a part of me, deep within the nether regions of my id, that loves the idea of deep fried fair foods. This is also the same region of my brain that revels in the fantasy of eating turkey drumsticks with my bare hands, while shouting “Off with their heads!” in some sort of bizarre amalgamation of King Henry the VIII and Queen Victoria. My brain – it’s both my asset and my curse.

It is this decadent part of my brain that is keeping me at odds against the folks who keep telling me how outrageous this story is…that someone dared come up with a concoction that involves Deep Frying Coca-Cola Syrup. Or, more specifically:

…a batter mix (is) made with Coca-Cola syrup, a drizzle of strawberry syrup, and some strawberries.

Balls of the batter are then deep-fried, ending up like ping-pong ball sized doughnuts which are then served in a cup, topped with Coca-Cola syrup, whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and a cherry on the top.

This sounds absolutely, positively decadent! I so want to try one!

I’m sure there are several folks who read this site on a regular basis whose jaw just thumped upon their desk. But I’m curious to the negative responses to this story (which has been making it’s way around the food world for about two months now). Is it the fact that the dessert is unhealthy? Is it because it’s gratuitous? One could make those claims at number of desserts sold at 4 star restaurants across the country. What makes an dark chocolate sponge cake topped with meringue, spiced almonds with a dusting of cinnamon and cayenne pepper okay, but deep fried batter made with cola syrup and strawberries is looked upon (by some) with disdain?

The title of the above linked article was entitled “Because we don’t already have enough fried foods..”, giving the impression that this dessert is unnecessary. Blogging Stocks mentions “Fried Coke underscores how far from healthy Coca-Cola is“. NPR reports on the dessert under the title “From the Annals of Bad Eating: Deep-Fried Coca-Cola“. From all of these stories, it sounds like Deep-Fried Coke is a ticking time bomb upon our health, and a culinary disaster to boot.

Nonsense, I say. Of course it’s unhealthy…name me a dessert found at most restaurants that isn’t. It’s not exponentially worse than the crème brulee or the tiramisu being sold at the upper-scale restaurant down the street.

Personally, I have no idea if it’s a good idea, from a taste perspective, because, y’know, I haven’t actually tried the dessert. I’ll refrain from giving an opinion upon it’s taste to when I have eaten Deep-Fried Coke.

Technorati Tags: Deep Fried Coke, Fair Food

Coke’s Caloric Sophistry

What happens when you get two of the world’s largest food corporations, both with histories of unethical behavior (Coca-Cola and Nestlé) working together? A drink that burns calories.

Enviga, which will be on sale in the US next month, will be available in Britain next year.

The makers claim that a combination of extracts from green tea and caffeine speeds up the drinker’s metabolic rate, which helps the body to burn calories.

I think it’s safe to say that the energy-drink industry is truly getting out of hand. Their claims of drinking 3 bottles of Enviga will burn an average of 106 calories is cynical in their marketing. As Andrew Prentice, professor of international nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, mentioned in the article “The implicit claim to the consumer is that [Enviga] will make them lose weight.”

Coke denies that this is their motivation, speaking through their chief Scientist Rhoma Applebaum,”We want to make clear that this is not a magic bullet to lose weight”.

If one were to believe Coke’s position, then answer the following question – Do you think that they are thrilled or abhorred at the press that their drink is getting?

As Calorielab pointed out – “…you could save the four bucks a day ($1,460 a year) that would cost and go for a walk instead.”

Technorati Tags: Coca-Cola, Enviga

Colas and Trade Secrets

In the discussion about copyright below, Mithrandir brought up the subject of Trade Secrets. Which is coincidental, because Coke and Pepsi are having a bit of a problem with their own trade secrets surrounding the secret recipes of their respective colas.

India’s top court asks Coca-Cola and Pepsico to disclose contents of soft drinks

India’s top court has asked Coca-Cola and Pepsi to disclose the ingredients in the soft drinks they sell here amid allegations the drinks contain high levels of pesticide.

The Supreme Court notice on Friday came days after a New Delhi-based independent research body said it found samples of Coke and Pepsi contained pesticide residue that was 24 times above the limits set by the Bureau of Indian Standards.

The Center for Science and Environment in New Delhi said it carried out tests on 57 samples taken from 11 soft drink brands made by Coca-Cola India and PepsiCo India.

Firstly, it’s unlikely (but not improbable) that the colas have that level of pesticide.

My own opinion is that this is far more politically motivated than motivated by any regard for public health.

That being said, it’s going to be interesting to see how these American companies respond for the call to their recipes. Because they would really prefer not to have these recipes get out into the public.

UPDATE: In the comments, Prasanna points out that there is likely pesticides in the colas, but not due to the cola companies. They point to a Financial Times article which concludes:

Almost any product in India, from tap water to milk, contains traces of toxins due to overuse of pesticides by farmers. This seeps into local ground water, which is used in more than 80 per cent of soft drinks.

Prasanna’s conclusions are as follows:

  1. Yes there are pesticides in all our products and the drinking water in India, which should worry us
  2. Yes the government limits for pesticide residues in our products are way to low (and haven’t developed much in the last years since the last scandal)
  3. Blaming Pepsi and Coca Cola is an anti-western populist agenda that has nothing to do with the problem. Even the study of CSE does no comparison to our traditional drinks as Tea (because normal Water in Tea or Coffee is less filtered than the one in Pepsi!)
  4. There should be a new independent study that compares comparable products!
  5. It seems to me way safer to drink Pepsi than to get a tea in India

Technorati Tags: Drink, Cola, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, India

Passover Coke

A few weeks ago, I got ane-mail from Jason (he of Off the Broiler and eGullet), alerting me to the fact that Passover Coke was currently available. I was told to keep my eyes open.

So I kept my eyes open and found…nothing. Which kinda bummed me out, as I’ve always wondered if there is a taste difference between a Coke made with High Fructose Corn Syrup and one made with sucrose in its place.

As you can see by the photograph to the right,someone was able to tip me off that Passover Coke as able to be found at the QFC in University Village here in Seattle. I scooted on over there in my Mini Cooper and procured said beverage.

How did Coke get into the Passover business? It’s the result of a Rabbi by the name of Tobias Geffen who was the dean of Southern Jewish Orthodoxy. With that position, he was often asked which foods were kosher and which were not. One of these foods was Coca-Cola.

He approached the folks at Coke, and asked them for a list of inredients. In a very unorthodox moment,the folks at Coke relented (which runs contrary to their business practice – many people who work for Coke, don’t even know what goes into the drink).

Rabbi Geffen found that one of the ingredients – glycerin – was made from beef tallow. This made the drink unkosher.

A second problem existed as well…Coca Cola contains trace amounts of alcohol derived from the grain products used to sweeten the beverage, in this case, Corn. Since anything derived from grains is not allowable, this too made Coke unkosher.

Coca-Cola executives decided to produce a Coke that was Kosher for the Jewish community. The glycerin is made from vegetable products and the sweetner comes from Sugar beets and Sugar Cane. In today’s formula, all of the impurities that typically come with the beets and cane have been removed, and the ingredient added is simply sucrose.

Of course one person’s impurities is another person’s flavoring. While a drink made from cane sugar is easily distinguished from one made from HFCS, a drink made with sucrose is a little more difficult.

In my case, I was able to tell the difference, due less to the taste itself, as to how the beverage felt in my mouth. For me, the Kosher coke held the tongue a little longer and a little more succinctly. It also made felt a little “rougher” upon my teeth, I know that sounds peculiar, but I know of no other way to explain it.

Is there a taste difference? Some people swear there is, but in my opinion, the taste difference is so slight that you have to be looking for it in order to notice it. To those who go through life not caring about the taste of Coke, the difference is almost unoticable.

Kosher Coke production has ended for this year, but you may still be able to find some in Major Metropolitan areas. Look for the 2 liter bottles with the yellow caps. I have been unable to determine in they make Kosher Coke in cans.

Technorati Tags: Drink, Coca-Cola, Passover Coke

Mexican Coca-Cola Redux

We’ve talked about Mexican Coke before, and my position hasn’t changed at all in the past two months. Pure Cane sugar sodas taste better than those with super-sweetened HFCS and Coke executives are still clueless when it comes to addressing this issue. But here’s a new article to fill those of you new to issue, chock full of the vacant stares and misrepresentations of fact from Coca-Cola. Let’s go over a few, shall we?

Point one (from the article):

The Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. has condemned the recent imports across the country as a form of “bootlegging.”

It’d be a form of bootlegging except for that one pesky fact that it’s not actually illegal to import Coca-Cola from Mexico. Coca-Cola would prefer you to not import colas from outside of the U.S. as it interferes with regional bottlers and distributors and the various contracts between them and the Atlanta Headquarters. But “bootlegging”? No.

Point two:

it’s the “same exact product,” and Mexican bottlers are buying the ingredients straight from the company, says (Mart) Martin (a spokesman for Coca-Cola’s North American division in Atlanta).

Except for, you know, it isn’t the “same exact product”. Cane Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup are not the same thing, with each having it’s own unique taste. Sure, both are sweet, but one is certainly more sweet than the other.

Point three:

…the company line all along has been that there is “no perceptible taste difference” between Mexican Coke and the American-made Classic Coke.

Bzzzzt!! Wrong again. See above.

The article’s main thesis is that the popularity of Mexican Coke is due in large part to nostalgia, a claim that I’m in no position to refute or agree with.

However, for Coke to say that Mexican Coca-Cola is the same as American made Coca-Cola simply isn’t true. One is made with corn and the other is made with cane sugar.

UPDATE: Jason writes in, stating that Kosher Coca-Cola, made without HFCS, is now available in several markets in the United States.

Technorati Tags: Drink, Coca Cola, Blackmarket