Coca-Cola formula

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A glass of Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola formula is The Coca-Cola Company's secret recipe for Coca-Cola syrup that bottlers combine with carbonated water to create its line of cola soft drinks. As a publicity, marketing, and intellectual property protection strategy started by Robert W. Woodruff, the company presents the formula as a closely held trade secret known only to a few employees.

Ingredients[edit]

The primary ingredients of Coca-Cola syrup include either high fructose corn syrup or sucrose derived from cane sugar, caramel color, caffeine, phosphoric acid, coca extract, lime extract, vanilla, and glycerin.[citation needed] High fructose corn syrup or sucrose are overwhelmingly the major added ingredients: one 600 ml bottle (≈20.29 U.S. fl. oz.) of Coca Cola contains the approximate equivalent of 15 teaspoons of sugar.[1] However, contrary to what is implied by the "cola" name, Coca-Cola syrup does not contain any kola nut extract.[2] Since no kola extracts are present in the recipe, the primary taste of Coca-Cola comes from vanilla and cinnamon with trace amounts of orange, lime and lemon and spices such as nutmeg.[3]

History[edit]

Coca-Cola was originally one of hundreds of coca-based drinks that claimed medicinal properties and benefits to health; early marketing claimed that Coca-Cola alleviated headaches and acted as a "brain and nerve tonic".[4][5] Coca leaves were used in Coca-Cola's preparation and the small amount of cocaine present in the product gave the drinker a "buzz".[5] In 1903 Coca-Cola removed cocaine from the formula, substituting caffeine as the stimulating ingredient, while dropping all the product's medicinal claims.[4][5][6] In response to increasing pressure from the United States Food and Drug Administration, which was carrying on a campaign against harmful food ingredients and misleading claims, Coca-Cola replaced unprocessed coca leaves with "spent" coca leaves, which flavored the product without providing any drug effect. It is believed that coca leaves are imported from Peru, then treated by US chemical company Stepan, which then sells the de-cocainized residue to Coca-Cola.[7][8] The Coca-Cola Company declines to comment upon whether or not Coca-Cola contains spent coca leaves, deferring to the secret nature of the formula.[9][10] Since 1929, the beverage has contained only trace amounts of cocaine alkaloids, which do not have any drug effect.[4]

In 1911 the United States sued the Coca-Cola Company, citing the Pure Food and Drugs Act, in an attempt to force the Coca-Cola Company to remove caffeine from Coca-Cola syrup, claiming that caffeine was harmful to health.[11] The United States lost the case, but the decision was partly reversed in a 1916 appeal to the United States Supreme Court.[6][12] To avoid further litigation, the Coca-Cola Company settled, paying all legal costs and agreeing to reduce the amount of caffeine in its product.[11][13] Congress passed laws requiring caffeine to be listed on the product's ingredients label.[citation needed]

Formula variations in the United States[edit]

In the United States, Coca-Cola primarily uses high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener, having replaced sucrose from sugar cane in the 1980s.[14] Coca-Cola made with cane sugar (sucrose) or a syrup-sucrose mixture is available in certain markets in 2-liter bottles in the weeks leading up to Passover and is available in most markets year round in 12-ounce glass bottles imported from Mexico.

Passover[edit]

Coca-Cola, in its typical formulation, was first certified Kosher in 1935 by rabbi Tobias Geffen when vegetable glycerin replaced beef tallow-derived glycerin. However, because Coca-Cola sold in the United States is typically sweetened using high-fructose corn syrup, a legume product by the definitions of Jewish kosher law, Ashkenazi Jews cannot drink it during Passover, owing to their tradition of abstaining from legumes as well as from grain during the festival. Therefore, while Jews of Sephardic ancestry can drink it, Coca-Cola sweetened with corn syrup is not labelled Kosher for Passover in order to avoid confusion. In the weeks leading up to Passover, United States bottlers in certain markets with a substantial Jewish population substitute cane sugar for high-fructose corn syrup in order to obtain Kosher for Passover certification.[15]

In most markets where Coca-Cola produced for Passover is sold, it is offered in 2-liter bottles with a yellow cap displaying the OU-P certification. In the greater Chicago, Illinois area, the local bottler offers 2-liter bottles with a white cap displaying the CRC-P certification. However in Canada, bottle labels display the COR and/or MK certifications annotated with "Passover" or "Kosher for Passover", and use the regular red bottle caps rather than specially marked or colored bottle caps.

"New Coke"[edit]

Main article: New Coke

In April 1985 the company briefly replaced the familiar Coca-Cola formula with one called "the new taste of Coke". This new formulation was not well received and after a few years was withdrawn from the market, replaced with a slight variation of the old recipe (the primary difference was that cane sugar was replaced with high-fructose corn syrup),[citation needed] briefly identified as "Coca-Cola Classic" before returning to its identity as simply "Coke".

Mexican Coke[edit]

Main article: Mexican Coke

In the United States, certain retailers created a demand for cane sugar sweetened Coca-Cola produced in Mexico.[16] U.S. retailers obtained the Mexican produced product outside the official Coca-Cola distribution network and the imported product was not labelled in accordance with U.S. food labeling laws. Noticing the success of this product in local groceries and large chains such as Costco, the Coca-Cola Company began officially importing Coca-Cola produced in Mexico with proper labeling for distribution through official channels.[17][18]

Cleveland, Ohio, bottler[edit]

The Coca Cola Bottling Company of Cleveland, which also serves a portion of Pennsylvania, never switched to high fructose corn syrup and continues to sell Coca-Cola produced with cane sugar.[16]

Purported secret recipes[edit]

Pemberton recipe[edit]

This recipe is attributed to a diary owned by Coca-Cola inventor, John S. Pemberton, just before his death in 1888. (U.S. measures).[19][20]

This recipe does not specify when or how the ingredients are mixed, or the flavoring oil quantity units of measure (though it implies that the "Merchandise 7X" was mixed first). This was common in recipes at the time, as it was assumed that preparers knew the method.

Reed recipe[edit]

This recipe is attributed to pharmacist John Reed.[21][22]

Merory recipe[edit]

Recipe is from Food Flavorings: Composition, Manufacture and Use. Makes one 1 US gallon (3.8 l; 0.83 imp gal) of syrup. Yield (used to flavor carbonated water at 1 US fl oz (30 ml) per bottle): 128 bottles, 6.5 US fl oz (190 ml).[23]

Beal/This American Life recipe[edit]

On February 11, 2011, Ira Glass said on his PRI radio show, This American Life, that the secret formula to Coca-Cola had been uncovered in "Everett Beal's Recipe Book", reproduced in the February 28, 1979, issue of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The formula found basically matched the formula found in Pemberton's diary.[24][25][26] The recipe revealed contains:[27]

The secret 7X flavor (use 2 oz of flavor to 5 gals syrup):

Physical security of the secret recipe[edit]

After Dr. John S. Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886, the formula was kept a close secret, only shared with a small group and not written down. In 1891, Asa Candler became the sole proprietor of Coca-Cola after purchasing the rights to the business. Then, in 1919, Ernest Woodruff and a group of investors purchased the Company from Candler and his family. To finance the purchase Woodruff arranged a loan and as collateral he provided documentation of the formula by asking Candler's son to commit the formula to paper. This was placed in a vault in the Guaranty Bank in New York until the loan was repaid in 1925. At that point, Woodruff reclaimed the secret formula and returned it to Atlanta and placed it in the Trust Company Bank, now SunTrust Bank, where it remained through 2011.[28] On December 8, 2011, the Coca-Cola Company moved the secret formula to a purpose built vault in a permanent interactive exhibit at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta.[29]

Commercial teaser[edit]

On January 23, 2011, during an NFL commercial, Coca-Cola teased that they would share the secret formula only to flash a comical "formula" for a few frames. This required the use of a video recording device to freeze on the formula for any analysis, which ultimately proved to be a marketing ploy with no intention of sharing the full official formula. Ingredients listed in the commercial included nutmeg oil, lime juice, cocoa, vanilla, caffeine, "flavoring" and a smile.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Costa Bir, Lisa. "Hidden Sugar". Body+Soul. NewsLifeMedia Pty Ltd. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  2. ^ D'Amato, Alfonsina; Fasoli, Elisa; Kravchuk, Alexander V.; Righetti, Pier Giorgio (2011-04-01). "Going Nuts for Nuts? The Trace Proteome of a Cola Drink, as Detected via Combinatorial Peptide Ligand Libraries". Journal of Proteome Research (American Chemical Society) 10 (5): 2684–2686. doi:10.1021/pr2001447. Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  3. ^ Poundstone, William (1983). Big Secrets. William Morrow and Company. ISBN 0-688-04830-7. 
  4. ^ a b c Rielly, Edward J. (2003-08-07). Baseball and American Culture: Across the Diamond. Routledge. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-7890-1485-6. 
  5. ^ a b c Boville Luca de Tena, Belén (2004). The Cocaine War: In Context: Drugs and Politics. Algora Publishing. pp. 61–62. ISBN 978-0-87586-294-1. 
  6. ^ a b Hamowy, Ronald (2007). Government and public health in America (illustrated ed.). Edward Elgar Publishing. pp. 140–141. ISBN 978-1-84542-911-9. 
  7. ^ Benson, Drew (2004-04-19). "Coca kick in drinks spurs export fears". The Washington Times (The Washington Times, LLC). "Coke dropped cocaine from its recipe around 1900, but the secret formula still calls for a cocaine-free coca extract produced at a Stepan Co. factory in Maywood, New Jersey." 
  8. ^ Lee, Rensselaer W. III (1991). The White Labyrinth: Cocaine and Political Power. A Foreign Policy Research Institute book (reprinted ed.). Transaction Publishers. pp. 24–25. ISBN 9781560005650. 
  9. ^ Langman, Jimmy (2006-10-30). "Just Say Coca". Newsweek via MSNBC.com. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  10. ^ Ceaser, Mike (2006-02-01). "Colombian farmers launch Coke rivals". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  11. ^ a b Benjamin, Ludy T. (February 2009). "Pop psychology: The man who saved Coca-Cola". Monitor on Psychology (American Psychological Association) 40 (2): 18. Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  12. ^ United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca Cola, the Coca Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, 241 U.S. 265 (U.S. 1916-05-22) (“The judgment is reversed and the cause is remanded for further proceedings in conformity with this opinion.”).
  13. ^ Pendergrast, Mark (2000). For God, Country and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company that Makes it (2nd ed.). Basic Books. pp. 121–. ISBN 978-0-465-05468-8. 
  14. ^ "Coca-Cola Taste Test: High Fructose Corn Syrup vs. Sugar". Huffpost. 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2013-05-14. 
  15. ^ Feldberg, Michael. "Beyond Seltzer Water: The Kashering of Coca-Cola". jewishfederations.org. The Jewish Federations of North America, Inc. Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  16. ^ a b "Coke vs. Coke: A tale of 2 sweeteners". consumerreports.org. Consumers Union. June 2009. 
  17. ^ Walker, Rob (2009-10-08). "Cult Classic". nytimes.com (The New York Times Company). 
  18. ^ October 7, 2010 (2010-10-07). "Coca Cola: We Don't Need To Make A Cane Sugar Version Because You Already Have Mexican Coke – Consumerist". Consumerist.com. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  19. ^ Pendergrast, pp. 456–57.
  20. ^ The Recipe and image (pdf), This American Life. See Radio episode and notes.
  21. ^ "John Reed & the Coke Formula". tn-roots.com. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  22. ^ Terry, Sue (August 1, 2005), A Rich Deliciously Satisfying Collection of Breakfast Recipes, My Best Book Publishing Company, ISBN 978-1-932586-43-5 
  23. ^ Merory, Joseph (1968). Food Flavorings: Composition, Manufacture and Use (2nd ed.). Westport, CT: AVI Publishing. 
  24. ^ Katie Rogers, "'This American Life' bursts Coca-Cola's bubble: What's in that original recipe, anyway?," Washington Post BlogPost, February 15, 2011, retrieved February 16, 2011.
  25. ^ Brett Michael Dykes, "Did NPR’s ‘This American Life’ discover Coke’s secret formula?," The Lookout, Yahoo! News, February 15, 2011.
  26. ^ David W. Freeman, "'This American Life' Reveals Coca-Cola's Secret Recipe (Full Ingredient List)," CBS News Healthwatch blogs, February 15, 2011.
  27. ^ The Recipe and image (pdf), This American Life.
  28. ^ "Coca-Cola Moves its Secret Formula to The World of Coca-Cola". The Coca-Cola Company. December 8, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2011. 
  29. ^ Stafford, Leon (December 8, 2011). "Coke hides its secret formula in plain sight in World of Coca-Cola move". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved December 19, 2011. 

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