Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mexican Coke and the Environment

I took this picture in rural Idaho, which pretty much means Mexican Coke is everywhere now. Mexican Coke differs from American Coke in its main ingredient: sugar. The Mexican version uses sugar cane. The American, high fructose corn syrup. For that reason lots of folks prefer it, if not for its flavor then for its environmental impact. The corn for the corn syrup is grown with the use of fossil-fuel intensive pesticides and fertilizers whose run-off causes groundwater pollution.

On the other hand Mexican Coke is shipped in heavy glass bottles thousands of miles. The American Coke usually ships in lightweight plastic bottles or cans and rarely travels more than a few dozen miles since bottlers are located close to where they sell. It makes me wonder if there's a net environmental difference in the end?

I also wonder if the suits at Coke are sitting back in Hotlanta scratching their heads and counting their money as sugar fans do all this work, essentially creating a new brand of Coke for them. 

More on corn syrup and sugar here, here and here.

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