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Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company and is often referred to simply as Coke or (in European and American countries) as Cola or Pop. Originally intended as a patent medicine when it was invented in the late 19th century by John Pemberton, Coca-Cola was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coke to its dominance of the world soft drink market throughout the 20th century.

The company produces concentrate, which is then sold to various licensed Coca-Cola bottlers throughout the world. The bottlers, who hold territorially exclusive contracts with the company, produce finished product in cans and bottles from the concentrate in combination with filtered water and sweeteners. The bottlers then sell, distribute and merchandise Coca-Cola in cans and bottles to retail stores and vending machines. Such bottlers include Coca-Cola Enterprises, which is the largest single Coca-Cola bottler in North America and western Europe. The Coca-Cola Company also sells concentrate for fountain sales to major restaurants and food service distributors.

The Coca-Cola Company has, on occasion, introduced other cola drinks under the Coke brand name. The most common of these is Diet Coke, which has become a major diet cola. However, others exist, including Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola, Diet Coke Caffeine-Free, Cherry Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Vanilla Coke and special editions with lemon and with lime and even with coffee.

In response to consumer insistence on a more natural product, the company is in the process of phasing out E211, or sodium benzoate, the controversial additive linked to DNA damage and hyperactivity in children, of Diet Coke. The company has stated that it plans to remove the controversial additive from its other products - including Sprite, and Oasis - as soon as a satisfactory alternative is discovered.

History

The first Coca-Cola recipe was invented in Columbus, Georgia at a drugstore by John Pemberton, originally as a cocawine called Pemberton's French Wine Coca in 1885. He may have been inspired by the formidable success of European Angelo Mariani's cocawine, Vin Mariani.

In 1886, when Atlanta and Fulton County passed prohibition legislation, Pemberton responded by developing Coca-Cola, essentially a non-alcoholic version of French Wine Cola. The original recipe was made without carbonated water, but was added later when Pemberton was mixing the drink for friends without the carbonated water and accidentally added it to a glass. His friends loved it more and he decided to continue making his drink with the carbonated water instead. The first sales were at Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886. It was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents a glass at soda fountains, which were popular in the United States at the time due to the belief that carbonated water was good for the health. Pemberton claimed Coca-Cola cured many diseases, including morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, headache, and impotence. Pemberton ran the first advertisement for the beverage on May 29 of the same year in the Atlanta Journal. For the first eight months only nine drinks were sold each day.

By 1888, three versions of Coca-Cola — sold by three separate businesses — were on the market. Asa Griggs Candler acquired a stake in Pemberton's company in 1887 and incorporated it as the Coca Cola Company in 1888. The same year, while suffering from an ongoing addiction to morphine, Pemberton sold the rights a second time to four more businessmen: J.C. Mayfield, A.O. Murphey, C.O. Mullahy and E.H. Bloodworth. Meanwhile, Pemberton's alcoholic son Charley Pemberton began selling his own version of the product.

In an attempt to clarify the situation, John Pemberton declared that the name Coca-Cola belonged to Charley, but the other two manufacturers could continue to use the formula. So, in the summer of 1888, Candler sold his beverage under the names Yum Yum and Koke. After both failed to catch on, Candler set out to establish a legal claim to Coca-Cola in late 1888, in order to force his two competitors out of the business. Candler purchased exclusive rights to the formula from John Pemberton, Margaret Dozier and Woolfolk Walker. However, in 1914, Dozier came forward to claim her signature on the bill of sale had been forged, and subsequent analysis has indicated John Pemberton's signature was most likely a forgery as well.

In 1892, Candler incorporated a second company, The Coca-Cola Company (the current corporation), and in 1910, Candler had the earliest records of the company burned, further obscuring its legal origins. Regardless, Candler began marketing the product, although the efficacy of his concerted advertising campaign would not be realized until much later. By the time of its 50th anniversary, the drink had reached the status of a national icon for the USA. In 1935, it was certified kosher by Rabbi Tobias Geffen, after the company made minor changes in the sourcing of some ingredients.

Coca-Cola was sold in bottles for the first time on March 12, 1894. Cans of Coke first appeared in 1955. The first bottling of Coca-Cola occurred in Vicksburg, Mississippi, at the Biedenharn Candy Company in 1891. Its proprietor was Joseph A. Biedenharn. The original bottles were Biedenharn bottles, very different from the much later hobble-skirt design that is now so familiar. Asa Candler was tentative about bottling the drink, but two entrepreneurs from Chattanooga, TN, Mr. Benjamin F. Thomas and Mr. Joseph B. Whitehead, proposed the idea and were so persuasive that Candler signed a contract giving them control of the procedure for only one dollar. Candler never collected his dollar, but in 1899 Chattanooga, TN became the site of the first Coca-Cola bottling company. However, the loosely termed contract proved to be problematic for the company for decades to come. Legal matters were not helped by the decision of the bottlers to subcontract to other companies—in effect, becoming parent bottlers.

Coke concentrate, or Coke syrup, was and is sold separately at pharmacies in small quantities, as an over-the-counter remedy for nausea or mildly upset stomach.

New Coke

On April 23, 1985, Coca-Cola, amid much publicity, attempted to change the formula of the drink with "New Coke." Follow-up taste tests revealed that most consumers preferred the taste of New Coke to both Coke and Pepsi. Coca-Cola management was unprepared, however, for the nostalgic sentiments the drink aroused in the American public. The new Coca-Cola formula caused a public backlash. Protests caused the company to return to the old formula under the name Coca-Cola Classic on July 10, 1985.

21st century

On February 7, 2005, the Coca-Cola Company announced that in the second quarter of 2005 they planned a launch of a Diet Coke product sweetened with the artificial sweetener sucralose ("Splenda"), the same sweetener currently used in Pepsi One. On March 21, 2005, it announced another diet product, "Coca-Cola Zero", sweetened partly with a blend of aspartame and acesulfame potassium. Recently Coca-Cola has begun to sell a new "healthy soda" Diet Coke with Vitamins B6, B12, Magnesium, Niacin, and Zinc, marketed as "Diet Coke Plus".

On July 5, 2005, it was revealed that Coca-Cola would resume operations in Iraq for the first time since the Arab League boycotted the company in 1968.

In April 2007, in Canada, the name "Coca-Cola Classic" was changed back to "Coca-Cola". The word "Classic" was truncated because "New Coke" was no longer in production, eliminating the need to differentiate between the two. The formula remained unchanged.

Use of stimulants in formula

When launched Coca Cola's two key ingredients were cocaine (benzoylmethyl ecgonine) and caffeine. The cocaine was derived from the coca leaf and the caffeine from kola nuts - Coca-Cola (the 'K' in Kola was replaced with a C for marketing purposes).

Coca - Cocaine

Pemberton called for five ounces of coca leaf per gallon of syrup, a significant dose, whereas, in 1891, Candler claimed his formula (altered extensively from Pemberton's original) contained only a tenth of this amount. Coca Cola did once contain an estimated nine milligrams of cocaine per glass, but in 1903 it was removed. Coca Cola still contains coca flavoring.

After 1904, Coca Cola started using, instead of fresh leaves, "spent" leaves - the leftovers of the cocaine-extraction process with cocaine trace levels left over at a molecular level. To this day, Coca Cola uses as an ingredient a cocaine-free coca leaf extract prepared at a Stepan Company plant in Maywood, New Jersey.

In the United States, Stepan Company is the only manufacturing plant authorized by the Federal Government to import and process the coca plant. Stepan laboratory in Maywood, New Jersey, is the nation's only legal commercial importer of coca leaves, which it obtains mainly from Peru and, to a lesser extent, Bolivia. Besides producing the coca flavoring agent for Coca Cola, Stepan Company extracts cocaine from the coca leaves, which it sells to Mallinckrodt, a St. Louis, Missouri pharmaceutical manufacturer that is the only company in the United States licensed to purify cocaine for medicinal use. N.J. Stepan buys about 100 metric tons of dried Peruvian coca leaves each year, said Marco Castillo, spokesman for Peru's state-owned National Coca Co.

Kola Nuts - Caffeine

Kola nuts act as a flavoring in Coca Cola, but are also the beverage's source of caffeine. In Britain, for example, the ingredient label states "Flavourings (Including Caffeine)". Kola nuts contain about 2 to 3.5 percent caffeine, are of bitter flavor and are commonly used in cola soft drinks. In 1911 The US government initiated United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola, hoping to force Coca Cola to remove caffeine from its formula. The case was decided in favor of Coca Cola. Subsequently, in 1912 the US Pure Food and Drug Act was amended, adding caffeine to the list of "habit-forming" and "deleterious" substances which must be listed on a product's label.

Coca Cola contains 34 mg/12 fl oz of caffeine, while Diet Coke Caffeine-Free contains 0 mg. Caffeine may be used by athletes as ergogenic aid - to increasing the capacity for mental or physical labor. The ergogenic qualities of caffeine are contested, although there is strong evidence that it may significantly enhance endurance performance. For this reason, caffeine is listed as a restricted substance by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Nevertheless Coca Cola was the leading sponsor of the 1996 summer Olympic games.

Production

Formula

The exact formula of Coca-Cola is a famous trade secret. The original copy of the formula is held in SunTrust Bank's main vault in Atlanta. Its predecessor, the Trust Company, was the underwriter for the Coca-Cola Company's initial public offering in 1919. A popular myth states that only two executives have access to the formula, with each executive having only half the formula. The truth is that while Coca-Cola does have a rule restricting access to only two executives, each knows the entire formula and others, in addition to the prescribed duo, have known the formulation process.

Franchised production model

The actual production and distribution of Coca-Cola follows a franchising model. The Coca-Cola Company only produces a syrup concentrate, which it sells to various bottlers throughout the world who hold Coca-Cola franchises for one or more geographical areas. The bottlers produce the final drink by mixing the syrup with filtered water and sugar (or artificial sweeteners) and then carbonate it before filling it into cans and bottles, which the bottlers then sell and distribute to retail stores, vending machines, restaurants and food service distributors.

The Coca-Cola Company owns minority shares in some of its largest franchises, like Coca-Cola Enterprises, Coca-Cola Amatil, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC) and Coca-Cola FEMSA, but fully independent bottlers produce almost half of the volume sold in the world. Since independent bottlers add sugar and sweeteners, the sweetness of the drink differs in various parts of the world, to cater for local tastes.

Brand portfolio

Name Launched Discontinued Notes Picture
Coca-Cola 1886

Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola 1984
Coca-Cola Cherry 1985
Coca-Cola with Lemon 2001 2005 Still available in: American Samoa, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Korea, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Reunion, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States, and West Bank-Gaza
Coca-Cola Vanilla 2002 2005 Still available in: Austria, Australia, China, Germany, Hong Kong, South Africa, New Zealand (600ml and 350 ml only) Malaysia, Sweden (Imported) and Russia
2007 It was reintroduced in June 2007 by popular demand
Coca-Cola C2 2004 2007 Was only available in Japan, Canada, and the United States.
Coca-Cola with Lime 2005 Still available in Belgium, Netherlands, Singapore
Coca-Cola Raspberry June 2005 End of 2005 Was only available in New Zealand.
Coca-Cola Zero 2005
Coca-Cola M5 2005 Only available in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Brazil
Coca-Cola Black Cherry Vanilla 2006 Middle of 2007 Was replaced by Vanilla Coke in June 2007
Coca-Cola Blāk 2006 Beginning of 2008 Only available in the United States, France, Canada, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Lithuania
Coca-Cola Citra 2006 Only available in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, New Zealand and Japan.
Coca-Cola Light Sango 2006 Only available in France and Belgium.
Coca-Cola Orange 2007 Only available in the United Kingdom and Gibraltar

Bottle and logo design

The famous Coca-Cola logo was created by John Pemberton's bookkeeper, Frank Mason Robinson, in 1885. It was Robinson who came up with the name, and he also chose the logo’s distinctive cursive script. The typeface used, known as Spencerian script, was developed in the mid 19th century and was the dominant form of formal handwriting in the United States during that period.

The equally famous Coca-Cola bottle, called the "contour bottle" within the company, but known to some as the "hobble skirt" bottle, was created in 1915 by bottle designer, Earl R. Dean. In 1915, the Coca-Cola Company launched a competition among its bottle suppliers to create a new bottle for the beverage that would distinguish it from other beverage bottles... "a bottle which a person could recognize even if they felt it in the dark, and so shaped that, even if broken, a person could tell at a glance what it was". Chapman J. Root, president of the Root Glass Company, turned the project over to members of his supervisory staff including company auditor T. Clyde Edwards, plant superintendent Alexander Samuelsson and Earl R. Dean, bottle designer and supervisor of the bottle molding room.

Root and his subordinates decided to base the bottle’s design on one of the soda’s two ingredients, the coca leaf or the cola nut, but were unaware of what either ingredient looked like. Dean and Edwards went to the Emeline Fairbanks Memorial Library and were unable to find any information about coca or cola. Instead they were inspired by a picture of the gourd-shaped cocoa pod in the Encyclopædia Britannica which Chapman Root approved as the model for the prototype.

Faced with the upcoming scheduled maintenance of the mold-making machinery, over the next 24 hours Dean sketched out and created the mold for the bottle. Dean then molded a small number of bottles before the glass-molding machinery was turned off.

Chapman Root approved the prototype bottle and a design patent was issued on the bottle in November, 1915. The bottle was chosen over other entries at the bottler’s convention in 1916 and was on the market the same year. By 1920, Dean’s contoured bottle became the standard for the Coca-Cola Company. Today, the contour Coca-Cola bottle is one of the most recognized packages on the planet..."even in the dark!"

As a reward for his efforts, Dean was offered a choice between a $500 bonus or a lifetime job at the Root Glass Company. He chose the lifetime job and kept it until the Owens-Illinois Glass Company bought out the Root Glass Company in the mid 1930s. Dean went on to work in other Midwestern glass factories.

Although endorsed by some, this version of events is not considered authoritative by many who cite its implausibility as difficult to believe. One alternative depiction has Raymond Loewy as the inventor of the unique design, but although Loewy did serve as a designer of Coke cans and bottles in later years, he was in the French Army in the year the bottle was invented and did not migrate to the United States until 1919. Others have attributed inspiration for the design not to the cacao pod, but to a Victorian hooped dress.

In 1997, Coca-Cola also introduced a "contour can", similar in shape to their famous bottle, on a few test markets, including Terre Haute, Indiana. This new can was however never widely released.

A new slim and tall can has begun to appear in Australia as of December 20, 2006, which costs an average of $2AUD. The cans have a distinct resemblance to energy drinks that are popular with the teenage demographic. It is unknown if this design is of limited edition or may soon replace the current 355 ml cans that have been used in the past (the new slim cans are 300 ml, making the volume to cost ratio even smaller).

In January 2007, Coca-Cola Canada changed "Coca-Cola Classic" labeling, removing the "Classic" designation, leaving only "Coca-Cola". Coca-Cola stated this is merely a name change and the product remains the same. The cans still bear the "Classic" logo in the United States.

Coca-Cola is a registered trademark in most countries around the world and should always be written with the hyphen and not as "Coca Cola". The US trademark was registered in the United States Patent Office on 31 January 1893. In the UK Coca-Cola was registered with the UK Patent Office on 11 July 1922, under registration number 427817.

In 2007, Coca-Cola introduced an aluminum can that is designed to look like the original glass bottles that Coca-Cola was first distributed in .

In 2007, the company's logo on cans and bottles has changed, retaining the red color and familiar typeface but taking branding back in time by removing much of the clutter on the can, leaving only the logo and a plain white swirl-- the "dynamic ribbon".

In 2008 in some parts of the world, the Coca-Cola plastic bottles for all Coke varieties, including 1.25 and 2 litre bottles was changed with a new plastic screw cap and contoured bottle shape designed to evoke the old glass bottles.

Local competitors

Pepsi is often second to Coke in terms of sales, but outsells Coca-Cola in some localities. Around the world, some local brands do compete with Coke. In South and Central America, Kola Real, known as Big Cola in Mexico, is a fast growing competitor to Coca-Cola. On the French island of Corsica, Corsica Cola, made by brewers of the local Pietra beer, is a growing competitor to Coca-Cola. In the French region of Bretagne, Breizh Cola is available. In Peru, Inca Kola outsells Coca-Cola. However, The Coca-Cola Company purchased the brand in 1999. In Sweden, Julmust outsells Coca-Cola during the Christmas season. In Scotland, the locally-produced Irn-Bru was more popular than Coca-Cola until 2005, when Coca-Cola and Diet Coke began to outpace its sales. In India, Coca-Cola ranked third behind the leader, Pepsi-Cola, and local drink Thums Up. However, The Coca-Cola Company purchased Thums Up in 1993. As of 2004, Coca-Cola held a 60.9% market-share in India. Tropicola, a domestic drink, is served in Cuba instead of Coca-Cola, in which there exists a United States embargo. French brand Mecca Cola and British brand Qibla Cola, popular in the Middle East, are a competitor to Coca-Cola. In Turkey, Cola Turka is a major competitor to Coca-Cola. In Iran and also many countries of Middle East, Zam Zam Cola and Parsi Cola are major competitors to Coca-Cola. In some parts of China, Future cola or 非常可乐 can be bought. In Slovenia, the locally-produced Cockta is a major competitor to Coca-Cola, as is the inexpensive Mercator Cola, which is sold only in the country's biggest supermarket chain, Mercator. In Israel, RC Cola is an inexpensive competitor. In Madagascar, Classiko Cola, made by Tiko Group, the largest manufacturing company in the country, is a serious competitor to Coca-Cola in many regions. On the Portuguese island of Madeira, Laranjada is the top selling soft drink. In the UK Coca-Cola stated that Pepsi was not its main rival, but rather Robinsons drinks.

Advertising

Coke has a 5¢ Coca-Cola ad in McPherson, Kansas on an old building that has survived many years. Originally, Coke sold them a huge amount of paint so that they would not have to buy any more touch-up paint for a very long time. Coke still has some paint stashed up because they want to be sure that that advertisement never completely wears away.

Coca-Cola's advertising has had a significant impact on American culture, and is frequently credited with the "invention" of the modern image of Santa Claus as an old man in red-and-white garments; however, while the company did in fact start promoting this image in the 1930s in its winter advertising campaigns, it was already common before that. In fact, Coca-Cola was not even the first soft drink company to utilize the modern image Santa Claus in its advertising – White Rock Beverages used Santa in advertisements for its ginger ale in 1923 after first using him to sell mineral water in 1915.

Before Santa Claus, however, Coca-Cola relied on images of smartly-dressed young women to sell its beverages. Coca-Cola's first such advertisement appeared in 1895 and featured a young Bostonian actress named Hilda Clark as its spokesperson.

In the 1970s, a song from a Coca-Cola commercial called "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", produced by Billy Davis, became a popular hit single.

Coca-Cola has a policy of avoiding using children younger than the age of 12 in any of its advertising. This decision was made as a result of a lawsuit from the beginning of the 20th century that alleged that Coke's caffeine content was dangerous to children. However, in recent times, this has not stopped the company from targeting young consumers. Coke's advertising is rather pervasive, as one of Woodruff's stated goals was to ensure that everyone on Earth drank Coca-Cola as their preferred beverage. This is especially true in southern areas of the United States, such as Atlanta, where Coke was born.

Some of the memorable Coca-Cola television commercials between 1960 through 1986, were written and produced by former Atlanta radio veteran Don Naylor (WGST 1936-1950, WAGA 1951-1959) during his career as a producer for the McCann Erickson advertising agency. Many of these early television commercials for Coca-Cola featured movie stars, sports heroes, and popular singers of the day.

During the 1980s, Pepsi-Cola ran a series of television advertisements showing people participating in taste tests essentially demonstrating that: "Fifty percent of the participants who said they preferred Coke actually chose the Pepsi". Statisticians were quick to point out the problematic nature of a 50/50 result; that most likely all this really showed was that in blind tests, most people simply cannot tell the difference between Pepsi and Coke. Coca-Cola ran ads to combat Pepsi's ads in an incident sometimes referred to as the cola wars; one of Coke's ads compared the so-called Pepsi challenge to two chimpanzees deciding which tennis ball was furrier. Thereafter, Coca-Cola regained its leadership in the market.

Selena was a spokesperson for Coca-Cola from 1989 till the time of her death. She filmed three commercials for the company. In 1994 to commemorate her 5 years with the company, Coca-Cola issued special Selena coke bottles.

In an attempt to broaden its portfolio, Coca-Cola purchased Columbia Pictures in 1982. Columbia provided subtle publicity through Coke product placements in many of its films while under Coke's ownership. However, after a few early successes, Columbia began to under-perform, and was dropped by the company in 1989.

Coca-Cola has gone through a number of different advertising slogans in its long history, including "The pause that refreshes", "I'd like to buy the world a Coke", and "Coke is it" (see Coca-Cola slogans).

In 2006, Coca-Cola introduced My Coke Rewards, a customer loyalty campaign where consumers earn virtual "points" by entering codes from special marked packages of Coca-Cola products into a website. These points can in turn be redeemed for various prizes or sweepstakes entries.

Sponsorship of sporting events

Coca-Cola was the first-ever sponsor of the Olympic games, at the 1928 games in Amsterdam and has been an Olympics sponsor ever since. This corporate sponsorship included the 1996 Summer Olympics hosted in Atlanta, which allowed Coca-Cola to spotlight its hometown. Since 1978 Coca-Cola has sponsored each FIFA World Cup and other competitions organised by FIFA. In fact, one of the FIFA tournament trophy: FIFA World Youth Championship from Tunisia in 1977 to Malaysia in 1997 was called "FIFA - Coca Cola Cup". In addition, Coca-Cola sponsors the annual Coca-Cola 600 and Coke Zero 400 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina and Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Florida. Coca-Cola has a long history of sports marketing relationships, which over the years have included Major League Baseball, the National Football League, National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, as well as with many teams within those leagues. Coca-Cola is the official soft drink of many collegiate football teams throughout the nation.

In India Coca Cola was one of the official Sponsors of the 1996 Cricket World Cup.

In England, Coca-Cola is the main sponsor of The Football League, a name given to the three professional divisions below the Premier League in football (soccer). It is also responsible for the renaming of these divisions- until the advent of Coca-Cola sponsorship, they were referred to as Divisions One, Two and Three. Since 2004, the divisions have been known as The Championship (equiv. of Division 1), League One (equiv. of Div. 2) and League 2 (equiv. of Division 3). This renaming has caused unrest amongst some fans who see it as farcical that the third tier of English Football is now called "League One." In 2005 Coca-cola launched a competition for the 72 clubs of the football league - it was called "Win a Player". This allowed fans to place 1 vote per day for their beloved club, with 1 entry being chose at random earning £250,000 for the club. This was repeated in 2006. The "Win A Player" competition was very controversial, as at the end of the 2 competitions, Leeds United AFC had the most votes by more than double, yet they did not win any money to spend on a new player for the club. In 2007 the competition changed to "Buy a Player". This competition allowed fans to buy a bottle of Coca-Cola Zero or Coca-Cola and submit the code on the wrapper on the Coca-Cola website {www.coca-colafootball.co.uk}. This code could then earn anything from 50p to £100,000 for a club of their choice. This competition was favored over the old "Win A Player" competition as it allowed all clubs to win some money, instead of all the money going to one winning club.

In mass media

Coca-Cola has been prominently featured in countless films and television programs. It was a major plot element in films such as One, Two, Three, The Coca-Cola Kid, and The Gods Must Be Crazy. It provides a setting for comical corporate shenanigans in the novel Syrup by Maxx Barry.

Alternative propulsion and Global Warming Policy

Due to the rising cost of fuel in 2008, Coca-Cola Co. and its two largest U.S. bottlers are shifting their fleets to hybrid electric vehicles. The company currently has 142 hybrid-electric delivery trucks throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Criticisms

The Coca-Cola Company has been criticized for its business practices as well as the alleged adverse health effects of its flagship product. A common criticism of Coke based on its allegedly toxic acidity levels has been found to be baseless by researchers; lawsuits based on these criticisms have been dismissed by several American courts for this reason.

Since there are indications that "soda and sweetened drinks are the main source of calories in [the] American diet, most nutritionists advise that Coca-Cola and other soft drinks can be harmful if consumed excessively, particularly to young children whose soft drink consumption competes with, rather than complements, a balanced diet. Studies have shown that regular soft drink users have a lower intake of calcium, magnesium, ascorbic acid, riboflavin, and vitamin A. The drink has also aroused criticism for its use of caffeine, due to the possibility of physical dependence. A link has been shown between long-term regular cola intake, of which Coca-Cola is the most consumed brand worldwide, and osteoporosis in older women (but not men). This was thought to be due to the presence of phosphoric acid, and the risk was found to be same for caffeinated and noncaffeinated colas, as well as the same for diet and sugared colas.

Although numerous court cases have been filed against The Coca-Cola Company since the 1920s, alleging that the acidity of the drink is dangerous, no evidence corroborating this claim has been found. Under normal conditions, scientific evidence indicates Coca-Cola's acidity causes no immediate harm.

There is also some concern regarding the usage of high fructose corn syrup in the production of Coca-Cola. Since 1985 in the U.S., Coke has been made with high fructose corn syrup, instead of sugar glucose or fructose, to reduce costs. This has come under criticism because of concerns that the corn used to produce corn syrup may come from genetically altered plants. Some nutritionists also caution against consumption of high fructose corn syrup because of possible links to obesity and type-2 diabetes.

In India, there exists a major controversy concerning pesticides and other harmful chemicals in bottled products including Coca-Cola. In 2003, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a non-governmental organization in New Delhi, said aerated waters produced by soft drinks manufacturers in India, including multinational giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, contained toxins including lindane, DDT, malathion and chlorpyrifospesticides that can contribute to cancer and a breakdown of the immune system. Tested products included Coke, Pepsi, and several other soft drinks, many produced by The Coca-Cola Company. CSE found that the Indian produced Pepsi's soft drink products had 36 times the level of pesticide residues permitted under European Union regulations; Coca-Cola's soft drink was found to have 30 times the permitted amount. CSE said it had tested the same products sold in the US and found no such residues. After the pesticide allegations were made in 2003, Coca-Cola sales declined by 15%. In 2004, an Indian parliamentary committee backed up CSE's findings, and a government-appointed committee was tasked with developing the world's first pesticide standards for soft drinks. The Coca-Cola Company has responded that its plants filter water to remove potential contaminants and that its products are tested for pesticides and must meet minimum health standards before they are distributed. In the Indian state of Kerala, sale and production of Coca-Cola, along with other soft drinks, was initially banned, before the High Court in Kerala overturned the ban ruling that only the federal government can ban food products. Coca-Cola has also been accused of excessive water usage in India.

Coca-Cola as a spermicide

The 2008 Ig Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Sheree Umpierre, Joseph Hill, and Deborah Anderson, for discovering that Coca-Cola is an effective spermicide, and to C.Y. Hong, C.C. Shieh, P. Wu, and B.N. Chiang for proving it is not.

Coca-Cola as a political and corporate symbol

The Coca-Cola drink has a high degree of identification with the United States itself, being considered by some an "American Brand" or to a small extent as an item representing America. The identification with the spread of American culture has led to the pun "Coca-Colanization". The drink is also often a metonym for the Coca-Cola Company.

There are some consumer boycotts of Coca-Cola in Arab countries due to Coke's early investment in Israel during the Arab League boycott of Israel (this contrasts sharply to Pepsi which stayed out of Israel). Mecca Cola and Pepsi have been successful in the Middle East as an alternative.

The art group monochrom as part of their 2005 "Experience The Experience" tour created a "Brick Of Coke". To do this, they put several gallons of Coca-Cola into a pot and boiled it down until the residue left behind could be molded into a brick.

See also

Coca-Cola variations

Notes

External links

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