kottke.org posts about Coca-Cola
Burn this guy at the stake because he's a witch! You can't separate out the water from Coca-Cola with a simple water filter. Coke is elemental, inviolable. It's The Real Thing. Coke Is It. A Coke is a Coke.
In the spirit of I, Pencil, here's how a can of Coke makes its way from the bauxite mines of Australia and the forests of Sri Lanka to your local grocery store shelf.
Coca-Cola is made from a syrup produced by the Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta. The main ingredient in the formula used in the United States is a type of sugar substitute called high-fructose corn syrup 55, so named because it is 55 per cent fructose or "fruit sugar", and 42 per cent glucose or "simple sugar" -- the same ratio of fructose to glucose as natural honey. HFCS is made by grinding wet corn until it becomes cornstarch. The cornstarch is mixed with an enzyme secreted by a rod-shaped bacterium called Bacillus and an enzyme secreted by a mold called Aspergillus. This process creates the glucose. A third enzyme, also derived from bacteria, is then used to turn some of the glucose into fructose.
Simply Orange juice is actually not all that simple. The taste of the the Coca-Cola-owned brand is governed by a complex algorithm that allows for the 600+ juice flavors to be tweaked throughout the year to ensure consistency. I liked The Atlantic Wire's take on the news:
The explanation behind Coke's complicated new orange juice scheme is nothing short of ironic. Basically, all of their customers are realizing the soda is really bad for you, so demand is shifting to healthy -- or at least healthy-seeming -- alternatives like juice. Coke also figured out that people are willing to pay 25 percent more for juice that's not processed, that is, not made from concentrate. Enter Simply Orange. It is indeed just oranges, but boy have those oranges been through hell and back.
This is like White Zombie's More Human Than Human except More Orange Juice Than Orange Juice.
Note: Illustration by Chris Piascik...prints & more are available.
Update: I updated the post above to point to Businessweek's original report on Coke's OJ business.
Well, sorta kinda maybe almost not really discovered it. But the story is still well worth a listen...I've never heard Ira Glass quite so on-the-edge-of-his-seat giddy.
The formula for Coca-Cola is one of the most jealously guarded trade secrets in the world. So we were surprised to come across a 1979 newspaper article with what looked like the original recipe for Coke. Talking to historian Mark Pendergrast, author of For God, Country and Coca-Cola, we were even more surprised when we found reasons to believe the recipe is real.
If you'd like to mix up your own batch of Coca-Cola, here's the original recipe and instructions.
This is one of my favorite quotes from anyone; it's from Warhol's 1975 book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol.
What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.
You know that image that's been going around that shows several revisions to the Pepsi logo while the Coca-Cola logo is the same as it's been since 1885? It tells a compelling story...Pepsi shifting its brand every few years in an attempt to catch up to steady market leader Coca-Cola. But of course it's bullshit...Armin Vit constructs a more accurate brand timeline that shows many Coca-Cola logos over the years.
I missed this a few days ago: Coca-Cola will finally be removing the "Classic" from their packaging, 24 years after their New Coke fiasco. What took so long?
What do I think about the new Pepsi logo? Eh. Companies spend way too much time, effort, and money building up feelings about logos -- like decades and billions of dollars -- and then they just go and change it all. Of course the new logo and colors are similar to the old ones and it's variations on a theme but the new designs feel like someone's idea of what packaging is going to look like 10 years from now, an approach that never seems to work out well (see Back to the Future II). Coca-Cola had such success refreshing their brand with a simple take on their classic look and logo, why can't Pepsi do the same with this classic look?
Adding sushi to the ever-growing list of everyday consumables as economic indicators: steak, Big Macs, Starbucks coffee, Coca-Cola, and cigarettes.
The price of a bottle of Coca-Cola remained a nickel for more than 70 years, until 1959. "The price of sugar tripled after World War I before falling back somewhat; over the past six decades, the price of coffee has gone up eightfold. Coke itself was taxed first as a medicine, then as a soft drink, and survived sugar rationing. All the while, the price stayed at a nickel."
Costco is selling Mexican Coke made with sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup, at least in the San Francisco area. "Costco has conformed to CA and U.S. rules, such as CRV (the sort-of deposit you pay for the bottle) and 'nutrition' labeling, so everything appears to be nice and legal." (via serious eats)
Big Mac index, meet the Coca-Cola index. The more wealthy, democratic, and the higher the quality of life, the more likely a country's inhabitants are to drink Coke. See also Starbucks as economic indicator.
Mexican Coke is growing in popularity in the US, despite Coca-Cola's insistence that it's the same product. (And for the record, it does taste different and better because of the real sugar used.)
Some big brands like Coke, McDonald's, and Disney are growing more unpopular with "global teens". "What applies to young people is 'Did it break? And did my friends say it was cool?' [It's an] opinion process that goes on through IMs and text-messaging, and it applies to everything from movies to cargo pants." (thx, stan)
Pepsi's market cap surpassed Coca-Cola's last week for the first time ever. The secret to their success? Diversifying into other snacks (Frito-Lay) and beverages (Tropicana and Gatorade).
Coke is using 500,000 liters of water/day in India despite water shortages. Coke is threatening to sue a photographer who put up a billboard critical of that water usage.
Greg Allen keeps winning free Diet Coke but is having trouble redeeming the prizes. "Coke put me in this situation where I feel like a wronged, government-cheese-stealing welfare queen, whose resentment builds with the fresh taunt of each unredeemable winning lid I find".