|12Cp and New Coke|
Message #2 Posted by Ellis Easley on 28 June 2003, 9:14 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Renato
That sounds like a theory I've heard explaining the "New Coke" introduction some years ago. It was well known that the formula for Coca-Cola was carefully guarded and sacred - they would never change it. Then suddenly, they replaced Coke - with New Coke. But everybody who liked Coke said New Coke was too sweet and flat - in fact, it tasted like Pepsi! (I used to think I preferred Pepsi, then one day I was in a public place where they were asking people to take "The Pepsi Challenge" - a Pepsi advertising campaign - I took the challenge and the better-tasting drink I chose was Coke! Since then I know the difference.) So, Coca-Cola withdrew New Coke and "re-introduced" Coke Classic, which is all you can get today. It tastes pretty much like the original Coke.
Now for the explanation (as I was told, and which makes sense to me): all of Coke's competitors used sugar (sucrose) and corn syrup (glucose) for sweeteners but the Coke formula required only sucrose. The United States keeps the price of sugar at twice the world price to protect domestic sugar growers (I don't understand it but I know it's true - I've also heard it has something to do with the politics of the Cuban blockade - some time ago it was being debated in Congress, one Representative in favor of the high price held up sugar packets and pointed out that restaurants still give sugar away, so how can it be too expensive?) so if Coke continued to require all sugar, it would be at a cost disadvantage to its competitors, since they used corn syrup because it is cheaper. So Coke needed to find a way to change the formula and they decided to kill two birds with one stone - first they changed Coke to taste like Pepsi, provoking a lot of discussion about how bad New Coke (and Pepsi) taste (at least to people who were accustomed to Coke). Then after a suitable period, they acknowledged their "mistake" and "re-introduced" - not Coke - but Coke Classic, which sounds like the same thing but is a new trademark, which at least morally releases the Coca-Cola Company from their pledge never to change the formula of Coke! So now they can use sugar or corn sweetenener, like their competitors.
There is one Dr. Pepper plant in Texas that is famous because they still use only sugar in their product and people say it tastes better. I think the Coke served in restaurants - mixed from Coca-Cola syrup and carbonated water - tastes better than what comes in cans or bottles - but I've never done a side-by-side comparison.
Now there is a debate about "high fructose corn syrup", which is used in a lot of prepared foods and drinks and which some people say is not healthy. Fructose was popular in the 1970's or 1980's as a healthier substitute for sugar because it was supposed to be sweeter - so you would use less - and it was metabolized differently. That fad faded away, as immortalized in a brief comment by Kramer on Seinfeld. Now recently I have read that when the body metabolizes sucrose, it breaks it down into glucose and fructose. The glucose is used by the body and the fructose just passes through. So since corn syrup used to be described as just glucose, high fructose corn syrup sounds like it would be about the same as sucrose - except without the necessity of the body breaking it down into the two components - maybe that step produces some side benefit or consumes some other substance that needs consuming.
I think I have strayed from the point - unless it is that maybe HP moved away from RPN to set themselves up to sell generic, outsourced calculators. If this is the case, the process started a long time before Carly What's-her-name was put in charge.