Mexican Coca-Cola Fans Get Some Not-So-Sweet News: Key Ingredient May Be Changing

Mexican Coca-Cola

Adios, Mexican Coke. The beloved Latin American export, which contains cane sugar and not high-fructose corn syrup, may be in for a change, reports Slate.

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Though many American fans of the drink specifically seek out the international version, and it's even become a hipster trend in some places around the country (looking at you, Brooklyn), “Mexi-Coke” could indeed be switching up an important ingredient. According to global business blog Quartz, executives of the Mexican bottler suggested a move away from pure sugar in response to a steep sales tax on soft drinks passed by Mexico’s congress on Oct. 31.

Reports Quartz, “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.”

The government has imposed an extra peso per liter of soda for all soft-drink sales in the country. The action is meant to curb the growing obesity epidemic in the country. According to Quartz, a whopping 70 percent of the population is considered obese.

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And Mexico certainly likes its soda, slurping down, on average, 707 eight-ounce servings per year, according to Reuters. (The United States is a close second, at 701 eight-ounce servings per year, by the way.)

Since Coca-Cola controls 75 percent of the soda market in Mexico, it’s a major player and has the most to lose, according to Reuters.

But could it be that natural sugar — the very ingredient that's created Mexican Coke's diehard fan base north of the border — was never there in the first place? Maybe. In 2010, researchers at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine tested Mexican Coca-Cola bought in East Los Angeles and did not find any sucrose, otherwise known as sugar, according to the blog Foodbeast. Instead, the blog reports, scientists detected “near equal amounts of glucose and fructose were found — indicators of high fructose corn syrup.”

When the company was asked to comment on the ingredients of Mexican versus American Coke, Yahoo Shine received a statement from Patricia Vázquez Orbegozo, spokesperson for Coca-Cola Mexico, which read: “The Coca-Cola formula has been essentially the same since it was created in 1886.”

She added, “All of the ingredients are listed in the label, but what we don’t reveal is the secret formula." In a separate email, she wrote that while the formula "is the same all over the world," the sweetener comes from different sources, depending on the country.

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