Thursday, June 3, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup BEFORE New Coke was Introduced

Even as I was writing my Saturday morning post, I suspected that I may have to retract one statement in it. While talking about TIME Magazine's criteria for its 50 worst inventions "that just didn't work out," I noted that one of the inventions, New Coke, seemed to fit the criteria.

But I had a nagging feeling in my mind that New Coke actually didn't die, and that the whole episode was part of a conspiracy:

Eventually, Coke co. claimed (quite rightly) that people missed old Coke and demanded its return. As a consequence, Coke vowed to rerelease the original Coke as Coke Classic. They never did. What they did do was bring back the original recipe, but with (significantly cheaper) corn syrup instead of sugar.

However, while it's undeniable that most Coke sold in the U.S. today uses high fructose corn syrup, takes issue with the timing cited by the conspiracy theorists:

In 1980, five years before the introduction of New Coke, half the cane sugar in Coca-Cola had been replaced with high fructose corn syrup. By six months prior to New Coke's knocking the original Coca-Cola off the shelves, there was no cane sugar in American Coca-Cola. Whether they knew it or not, what consumers were drinking was 100% sweetened by high fructose corn syrup.

I was unable to independently verify's claims about the introduction of high fructose corn syrup in old Coke - and, needless to say, Coca-Cola doesn't necessarily volunteer this information. But if this is true, then I guess that New Coke can truly be categorized as a failure.
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