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FASCINATING FACTS OF THE DAY: 15 Facts about Coca-Cola That You’ve Hardly Ever Known

FASCINATING FACTS OF THE DAY: 15 Facts about Coca-Cola That You’ve Hardly Ever Known


Coca-Cola is one of the largest and most dominating companies in the world monopolizing the entire soft-drink market. Something that big is bound to come with many tales of controversies, legal battles, secrets, market competitions, and interesting incidents from its past. So, here are some of those facts about Coca-Cola that will satisfy your curiosity and present some interesting information about the giant.

15. The initial formula of Coca-Cola contained a small amount of cocaine to give the drinkers a “buzz”. In 1903, it was removed and replaced by caffeine. 

Image Source: charlotteisnotmyname

Like many other coca leaf-based drinks made during that time, Coca-Cola claimed many health benefits including relief from headaches and the drink being a “brain and nerve tonic”. In 1911, the United States sued Coca-Cola and asked from the company to remove caffeine from the drink claiming that it’s not good for health. Coca-Cola won the case but the decision reversed later in 1916. Hence, the company agreed to decrease the amount of caffeine in the drinks and paid all legal costs to avoid further problems. (source)

14. During the late 90’s, Coca-Cola tested price-changing vending machines taking advantage of the supply and demand concept. The machine would increase the price as temperature increased.

Image Source: coca-colacompany

With a rise in the number of sales from vending machines, Coca-Cola wanted to get creative with how they price. The machines had started becoming an important source of profits for the company. Also by that time, the Japanese were already doing the same with some vending machines by changing prices based on outside temperatures using wireless modems with a possibility of making them more interactive. Its arch-rival Pepsi, however, stated that they were not working on any such a technology and preferred making it easier for a consumer to buy a soft-drink. (source)

13. Coca-Cola was sued by Dr. Pepper in 1972 for trademark infringement by making a soft-drink named “Peppo”. The drink was renamed as Dr. Pibb and was sued again. In the end, they named it Mr. Pibb.

Image Source: flickr, adclassix

This was not the first time Dr. Pepper and Coca-Cola conflicted. In another incident in 1951, Coca-Cola was sued for $750. 000 for selling nickel Coca-Colas for low costs. Later in the 1980s, Coca-Cola tried to acquire Dr. Pepper and Seven Up but failed to do so. Instead, Dr. Pepper and Seven Up merged creating Pepper/Seven Up Inc. but lost their international branding rights to Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola’s further attempts to acquire the company were blocked by the Federal Trade Commission to prevent its monopoly over beverage industry. (source)

12. The American Coca-Cola spent as much as $1.5 million on scientists to argue that obesity is not caused by soft drinks and rather than cutting down on them, people should work out more.

Image Source: vintageadbrowser, wired

According to New York Times, Coca-Cola said that they have been researching their products for a very long time. They also said that they have been working on nutrition and fitness issues with experts in those fields and that it is important the researchers maintain transparency regarding funding and their findings. However, Coca-Cola isn’t the only company that funds The American Society for Nutrition and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Pepsi, Hershey’s, and McDonald’s have also done that. (source)

11. A truck driver at Coca-Cola Bottling Co. with 12 years of “clean record” was allegedly fired for drinking Pepsi on company time.

Image Source: thenewstribe

After finishing delivery at a store in California, the employee bought a bottle of Pepsi and went to the backroom to take a break. He was wearing the Coca-Cola uniform while drinking it when someone spotted and notified the company. According to Teamsters union, he was fired because it was a violation of the company’s policies to “prevent slander against the company and its products.” The story, however, was never confirmed by the company’s spokesperson citing that it is against California’s laws to reveal employee’s privacy. (source)

10. Coca-Cola makes so many different types of beverages that it would take you over 9 years to taste them all if you tried one per day.

Image Source: coca-colaindia, robertkaplinsky

According to Coca-Cola India, the company has over 500 active brands with 3, 500 different types of products including 800 low-calorie alternatives. Coca-Cola has a long history of brand acquisitions including famous brands such as Minute Maid, Thums Up, Fanta, Sprite, and Bacardi. It didn’t stop there. In 1982, Coca-Cola purchased Columbia Pictures for $692 million and later sold it to Sony for $3 billion in 1989. With over 200 countries in which it sells beverages under various brands, it has become the world’s largest beverage company. (1, 2, 3)

9. Only 2 people alive know the “recipe” of Coca-Cola. It’s such a protected secret that they are both not allowed to travel on the same plane at the same time in case it crashes.

Image Source: cnn

The company has built a multi-million vault in their headquarters in Atlanta specifically to guard the years of secret formula for the soft-drink. The formula was first developed by John Pemberton, a civil war veteran, and morphine addict, in 1886. However, the recipe was only written down by a group of investors in 1919 and was only passed by word of mouth until then. For over 86 years, the formula was locked in the bank of Atlanta, later to be moved into their own secure private vault. The secrecy and mystery of the drink’s formula were used as a market strategy by the company for advertising and campaigning. (source)

8. Coca-Cola has overused and depleted the ground water of Mehdiganj, a village in India, for 16 years. 

Image Source: ahtribune

Councils of almost eighteen villages are calling for a ban on Coca-Cola’s bottling plant located near the village. According to Amit Srivastava, the company has been exploiting the groundwater resources at the expense of the villagers and their livestock. Because of the plant, they have been experiencing a shortage of water since 1999 though the company has denied all allegations. They claimed that there was no evidence for those allegations by citing reports from a different water authority and that the crops are still growing without problems. (source)

7. During the early the 1900s, Coca-Cola marketed for whites whereas Pepsi marketed for blacks.

Image Source: tes, therealpepsichallenge

Coca-Cola, during the 20s and 30s, completely ignored the African-American community by marketing it only for whites. The promotional material was only displayed in areas populated by whites or segregated areas, but not in all African-American areas. Pepsi, on the other hand, used black sales representatives and black models in ads with their promotional material on display in areas populated by African-Americans. As decades passed and the scenery changed along with a lot of growth and expansion, both the companies widened their marketing and campaigning departments. (source)

6. Farmers in the eastern state of Chhattisgarh, India, use Coca-Cola and Pepsi to deal with pests. The sugar in the drinks attracts ants which in turn feed on insect larvae.

Image Source: foodnavigator, coca-colaproductfacts

Using soft-drinks along with pesticides has improved crop production and served as a remedy for pests for these rice farmers. According to the agricultural specialist Devendra Sharma, the practice is not new. In old days, jaggery made from sugar cane was used to achieve the same result. Another added bonus to using soft-drinks in crops is that they provide a direct supply of carbohydrates which help the plants improve their immunity and yield on the whole. Furthermore, the costs of using soft-drinks have decreased their expenditure on crops by ten times. (source)

5. Fanta was invented during the second world war when C0ca-Cola couldn’t import syrup into Nazi Germany because of a trade embargo. Instead, they made Fanta only using the available ingredients at that time.

Image Source: commons.wikimedia, drinkingcup, collectorsweekly

The name Fanta was a result of a brainstorming session in which the team was told to “use their imagination”. The German word for imagination is “Fantasie” from which the word Fanta was derived. They produced the drink using the only ingredients available in Germany (including whey and apple pomace too) at that time due to the embargo on some of the ingredients required to make the actual Coca-Cola. After the war was over, Coca-Cola regained control over the plant discontinuing the new drink and doing a complete relaunch later in 1955 especially in Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa. (source)

4. People have been finding new uses for Coca-Cola, including using it to repel insects, kill snails or slugs, loosen rusty bolts, clean car battery terminals and even to clean toilets.

Image Source: reshareable, livinggreenmag

For a lot of DIYers, Coca-Cola isn’t just a great tasting drink. The carbonated soft-drink, due to the fuzzy soda bubbles and acids, are claimed to loosen up the grime and limescale buildup in toilets. The instructions for usage seem to be simple, all you have to do is pour some Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl and scrub a little. It is also claimed to clean baking dishes with much ease. Apart from cleaning, Coca-Cola is used in cooking as well. There are recipes that call for marinating and cooking meat in Coca-Cola. (source)

3. Coca-Cola was originally created by John Pemberton as a substitute for his morphine addiction. It was an alcoholic drink at first and the alcohol was later removed during the prohibition period.

Image Source: npr, fineartamerica

John Pemberton was wounded during the American Civil War. To find relief from the pain, he got addicted to morphine but felt a need to stop it. Finding inspiration from a French coca wine, he developed a prototype in Pemberton’s Eagle Drug and Chemical House. The drink was first sold in Atlanta as a patent medicine for five cents per glass. It was a time when people in United States thought soda water was good for health and Pemberton sold his drink claiming it cured many neurological diseases and even impotence. (source)

2. It is estimated that Americans consume around 1.7 million tons of sugar, or 10.8 pounds per person, in a year from drinking Coca-Cola.

Image Source: telegraph

According to an estimation, Americans drink at least 399 servings of Coca-Cola in a year. Combining that with the amount of sugar per serving, around 39 grams, the American population consumes a whopping amount of sugar that will give many diet-conscious people a start. Among these soft-drinks, 50% belong to the Coke brand and 60% are classic Coca-Cola. (source)

1. Coca leaves are still a part of Coca-Cola’s formula but the cocaine is extracted for medical use and the remaining matter is used for flavoring the drink.

Image Source: Wikipedia Commons, Wikipedia Commons

It was in 1903 that Coca-Cola decided to remove cocaine as an ingredient in making the soft-drink. Instead, the stimulating ingredient used in the drink had become caffeine. However, the coca plant is still said to be part of the drink formula. A company in New Jersey imports coca leaves from Peru to extract pure cocaine for medical use, and also it produces a cocaine-free leaf extract which is believed to be used as a flavoring ingredient. However, since the recipe is a secret and hidden from all prying and curious eyes, we will never know for sure. (1, 2)

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