|Credit: Soda stream USA|
I have a secret: I've often wanted to peer behind the scenes as a Coca-Cola chemist. Think about all the different stuff you'd get to play with! Considering sweeteners alone, you have Diet Coke, Coca-Cola, Coke Zero, and now "Coke Life," which use aspartame, high-fructose corn syrup, sucralose, and stevia, respectively. Not just those, but dyes, vitamins, stabilizers, emulsifiers, preservatives, and much, much more. Best part? If you invent something exciting, you get to see it used by billions of people - more than your average pharmaceutical (and a much shorter development cycle!).
It's interesting to speculate on why certain artificial sweeteners didn't make the Coke cut. Certainly, lead acetate didn't - ask the ancient Romans why not. But diner table stand-by saccharin didn't, either. Perhaps too much bad press on its tenuous ties to cancer? And why not go back to using a truly "natural" sweetener, like sugar or honey? Cost plays a role here, as does consumer preference.*
I look forward to trying "Coke Life" myself. If anyone from Argentina reads this, let's work out some shipping arrangements.
*To me, HFCS tastes overwhelmingly cloying, but I've heard dedicated Coke drinkers describe saccharin as "metallic," aspartame as "sharp" or "bitter," and stevia as "too sweet" (Ha!).