SODA BLOGGING….Over at Begging to Differ, Greg has a rundown of all the different kinds of Diet Coke. Here’s his top pick:
Coke Light. Only available internationally, but man is that stuff good. Its taste is similar to regular Mexican Coke, which has a strong flavor and is made from cane sugar. On a trip that Allison and I took to Mexico a few years back, we drank this stuff almost non-stop. As I understand it, Coca-Cola first tried to market Diet Coke internationally, but it flopped. People thought it was only for those trying to lose weight. Coke Light, on the other hand, could be marketed like light beer.
So what’s the deal here? Does Coke Light taste better than American Diet Coke because they can still use cyclamates overseas? It turns out that’s not it:
Fans of the drink often express a strong preference for the continental European formula over the British-American version, as it tastes far closer to regular Coke. This is because the Diet Coke formula is based upon the New Coke formulation and Coca-Cola Light, now being sold in the U.S. as Coca-Cola Zero, is based on the Coca-Cola Classic formula.
So Coke Light is Coke Zero? Why then does Greg rank Coke Light #1 and Coke Zero #6 (“not bad, but there’s something slightly empty to its flavor”)? I think Greg needs to perform a blind taste test. For what it’s worth, though, this 1999 article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle confirms that when Coke Light was introduced overseas it kicked Diet Coke’s butt pretty spectacularly. That Ace-K stuff must be sweetener gold.
Still, I have a question: how could Diet Coke (introduced in 1983) be based on the New Coke formulation (introduced in 1985)? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that New Coke was based on the Diet Coke formulation?
And while we’re at it, what’s up with cyclamates, anyway? The FDA pretty much admitted that the cyclamate ban was stupid more than 15 years ago, and since Republicans are supposed to be the ones opposed to “junk science” and overregulation of all sorts, repealing the ban would be right up their alley. What’s more, it would win them the votes of the nation’s grateful diet soda drinkers, surely one of the largest untapped voting blocs in the country. So what’s the holdup?