Pi Attitude Zone: Self-Gratification

Hecho En Mexico Can Trump Made In USA

Mexicans are the world’s biggest consumers of sugar-based carbonated soft drinks, more generally known as sodas.  The average Mexican chugs his way through an astonishing 707 eight-ounce cans a year, marginally overtopping the US average consumption rate of 701 servings annually.  No other nation comes close.

Coincidentally – or then again maybe not – Mexico also has levels of obesity in society that exceed even those of the United States -- which have themselves been giving rise to considerable public concern. 

The Mexican government recently decided that the answer is a special tax on high-calorie carbonated beverages.  The measure will be adding about 12¢ US to the 92¢-per-liter standard price, a 13% surcharge.  Coca-Cola and its giant bottler Femsa control three-quarters of Mexico’s drinks market, and these companies stand to be the hardest-hit. 

Soft drink manufacturers are certainly not going to want anything to diminish the country’s two-cans-a-day habit.  Expect a shift of marketing emphasis from high-sugar to low-carb versions of Mexico’s favorite brands, Coke among them.  There are even corporate murmurings about possibly changing the formulas of the most sugar-infused beverages.... even Coke itself.

And that could spell trouble of a different kind, at least among the fiercely committed aficionados of... Mexican Coke.  Interestingly, these fanatics are to be found on both sides of the Rio Grande.  The thing of it is... is that the Mexican formula for Coke uses real cane sugar, see, while the US formulation is based on fructose corn syrup.  Those who have tasted The Real Thing as brewed South of the Border tend to get fanatical about it, and turn their noses up at the fructose-based “Norteamericano” version of their favorite soft drink.  Mexican Coke has become an American legend.  (A Mexican Coke Facebook page recently hosted more than 10,000 fans).

So talk of re-formulation sounds to some people like The End Of The World As We Know It (or TEOTWAWKI for short).

Maybe the formula will stay untouched, and the 18-wheeled camiones will keep on trucking the precious nectar northwards over the Mexican-US border, its cane-sugar-content intact.  That depends in part on Mexican Coke addicts’ willingness to pay an extra 12¢ to feed their habit, and continue seeking out the curvaceous bottles marked Hecho en Mexico”.

It really comes down to whether bad habits are worth defending, and paying for.  Reformulate?  Don’t do it, sugar...

Zone: Self-Gratification Country: Latin America Product – Consumer Products