Coca-Cola used to be made in the U.S. with cane sugar. 25 years ago the agriculture sector successfully lobbied to keep imported sugar tariffs high and corn prices subsidized, which created such a price difference between cane sugar and corn syrup that bottlers gladly switched to formulas containing high fructose corn syrup exclusively. “New Coke” was, in part, created to get us to buy into the switch. After New Coke failed to gain much market share, classic Coke was brought back re-formulated with corn syrup. Classic Coke is, therefore, not classic Coke – that’s a myth. Today’s Coke is a product that tastes slightly off, like almost all other carbonated beverages. And I thought it was just my taste buds changing with age.
Bring on the Mexicans.
Mexican immigrants noticed the difference between Coke in the U.S. and the Coke they drank in their homeland. It’s now become a bit of an underground effort to get Mexican Coke into the U.S. There’s nothing illegal about doing this but Coke doesn’t like it and refuses to change their marketing practices to provide a better-tasting product to the U.S. consumer. In other parts of the globe Coke has a poor reputation for other, much worse, reasons.
I would have thought that despite its near-monopoly, Coca-Cola would do whatever it took to make its product even more popular in the U.S. But like Microsoft and other near-monopolies, product quality is not generally a very high priority; why bother when there’s barely any competition? Profit is far and above the overriding concern, to the point where in some cases, business ethics may be compromised.
It’s always amazing how in many different ways the greed factor affects our lives.