Serious Soda Crisis

Sweet nectar of the gods Mexican Coke may be in danger

Sweet nectar of the gods Mexican Coke may be in danger

Urban legend has it that if you over-imbibe, the best cure for the next day's hangover is a breakfast taco, a Topo Chico and a Mexican Coke. Okay, so maybe that's not an urban legend but a deeply held personal belief.

Regardless, fans of Mexican Coke are on alert after The Atlantic and other news outlets published articles alluding to the possibility that our beloved soft drink is in trouble.

Mexican Coke, which is sweetened with cane sugar and comes in a glass bottle, has developed a cult status among some in the United States, who see it as an alternative to the American version, which is sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.

After an October 31 vote in Mexico raised the sales tax on soda by a peso per liter (about $.08), however, a Mexico-based Coca-Cola bottler discussed the move to high-fructose corn syrup as a cost-saving measure.

According to The Atlantic,

On an earnings call with analysts last week, the head of Arca Continental SAB said that the Mexico-based Coca-Cola bottler could 'move to more fructose,' which is cheaper than cane sugar.

Before we grab our pitchforks and head south, it's important to note why the Mexican government passed the Bloombergesque soda sales tax. Mexican residents drink an average of 650 cans of soda per year, and the country has the highest obesity rate in the world.

Adding a peso (about what the tax would be) to the cost of a soda is aimed at curbing the 70 percent obesity rate and, it's hoped, the beginning of a cultural shift in Mexico away from soda and toward healthier options. In addition to the soda sales tax, Mexican lawmakers also passed an 8 percent tax on all fast-food sales.

Although it remains to be seen if this new tax will change the DNA of Mexican Coke, we should probably start hoarding it while we can. Just in case, you know, we ever over-imbibe again.

Mexican Coca Cola
Mexican Coke is sweetened with cane sugar — for now, anyway. Photo by Eric Morris