January 11, 2006
Coke with Sugar?
Posted by Christine Hurt

Have you ever tasted Coke with sugar?  Depending on your age, you probablyCoke  have, but not for about 20 years.  Coke in the U.S. is made with high fructose corn syrup and has been for some time.  In Mexico, Coke is still made with cane sugar and bottled in little glass bottles.  And it tastes better.

The WSJ has an article today reporting that Coca-Cola is trying to fight retailers importing Mexican Coke for sale in the U.S.  The soda company claims that in taste tests consumers can't tell the difference and that former Mexican residents are buying it for nostalgia purposes, but I throw the flag.  It tastes different, and it tastes better.  In Texas, every once in awhile someone would give you a Mexican Coke, and it tastes better.  I won't drink a full-calorie Coke unless someone offers me a Mexican Coke because only then is the calorie trade-off worth it to me.  But, Coca-Cola is fighting this bootlegging because Coke makes more money off of corn syrup Coke because of its distribution agreements.

Why doesn't Coca-Cola sell Mexican Coke here?  I'm not sure how they would market it.  Sure, there is Diet Coke with Nutrasweet and Diet Coke with Splenda, but I'm not sure if consumers want to be reminded that they are drinking "Coke with sugar" or especially "Coke with corn syrup."  If some brilliant marketer can pull that off, and charge more for Coke with sugar, then Coca-Cola should try it.

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