business news in context, analysis with attitude

As mentioned above, we had a story yesterday about how the Coca-Cola Co. is trying to shut down the market for the more expensive Mexican version of its flagship brand, which is made with real sugar rather than corn sweetener and which has developed a growing fan base among U.S. cola connoisseurs.

Making the job a little more difficult is the fact that some mainstream supermarkets – including Kroger in Houston, HEB’s Central Market in Fort Worth, and Safeway in Denver – sell the Mexican version, which is sourced from offer a national wholesaler, Gourmet Award Foods.

MNB user Jennine McComas responded:

I find it amusing that the Coca-Cola company is trying to stop imports of Mexican Coke. Dr. Pepper bottled in Dublin, TX, and also made with real sugar, has been sold at the same Central Market in Fort Worth. I've seen signs in stores and restaurants proudly announcing that they have Dublin Dr. Pepper. For a Dr. Pepper afficionado, it's a real treat. I doubt its availability in this part of Texas has hurt overall sales of "regular" Dr. Pepper. I might compare it to occasionally treating myself to confections from a local chocolatier instead of a box of Russell Stover chocolates.

Another MNB user wrote:

Coca Cola is such a troubled company right now and has a problem at all levels when it comes to honesty and integrity. They also have a problem listening to its retail customers needs and to the consumers needs. This is just another example of how they are not in tune with the marketplace. If I was running Coke I would pay attention to the growing number of Hispanics in this country and instead of punishing the retailer who is trying to serve there customer by selling what they want and not what Coke wants to sell them. I think it would be a no-brainer to make a Mexican Coke made from sugar available to Hispanic customer in the US instead of trying to stop it from coming across the border and trying to force them to drink Coke made with corn syrup.

Yet another MNB user offered:

What seems like not too long ago - I was working at a soft drink company HQ - just as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was coming into soft drink production. A few of the company veterans said it was bad tasting compared to the sugar version.

A friend at another soft drink company was also not very positive about HFCS. But once one "biggie" converted, all others had to - or risk being at a lower profit in the bottler product mix. Don't forget that this was a big financial decision. Back then the big brands owned a big portion of the bottler network. Not so today - with CCE and PBG having been spun off from their parent companies.

Having lived about one mile from Central Market in Dallas, did get to see how well the Mexican Coca-Cola sold. It was usually on display just before the you got to the dairy aisle/section. In the walk-thru store format, that was a very busy high-traffic point.

Is this effort to stop Mexican Coca-Cola about economics or keeping the better tasting product off the shelf or is that the local bottlers are tired of losing business to the imported product? My guess is that the latter applies in this situation - and they do not want unhappy (big) bottlers.

MNB user Mark McSwain had an idea

Why not take advantage of the demand and develop Coke Premium. After all, if you are going to take the caloric hit, you might as well do it right.

And another MNB user chimed in:

What is even more amazing is that Coke is trying to shut down a legal, market oriented activity and not doing anything about the illegal Coke sold to Cuba.

Responding to Starbucks’ plan to raise prices because of the increased cost of milk and other commodities, one MNB user wrote:

I was in a meeting a few years ago with one of my vendors talking about Starbucks, and apparently (can't back it up) Starbucks goes through far more milk than it does coffee. I guess that makes sense, and why they would be impacted by higher prices.

Regarding McDonald's rumored possible acquisition of Krispy Kreme, one MNB user wrote:

Doesn't this kinda sabotage Micky D's recent health kick? For such a well-established chain they seem to have real difficulty figuring out who they are.

And another MNB user wrote:

Krispy Kreme will no longer exist as we know it today if they are sucked up by a larger entity in order to capitalize on a new line entry. It will fragment the core business of McDonald's, who could stand to focus on executing the basics, and rob Krispy Kreme of it's unique branding.

And in response to yesterday’s piece about Publix’s private label efforts, one MNB user wrote:

Not only does Publix invest in a 'flavormeister' and providing a wide variety of their own-brand products, they also manage to make them just as good, and often even better, than the nationals.

Best of all, I have from experience learned to trust the Publix branded products, even if I haven't tried them -- and it's precious few brands that can make that sort of claim.

And finally, responding to yesterday’s exchanges about mad cow disease and what we saw as the triumph of politics over science, one MNB user wrote:
Okay, I didn't write yesterday about the Mad Cow article, but the response about you lacking common sense on the subject was too much.

Let's get our heads out of the scientific sand pile and into the feed bucket!

This is a simple case of politics and that's that. The young man I know who died five years ago from the horrible effects of CJD (the human variant of Mad Cow) suffered unmercifully along with five other people in his home state of Utah and one in Oklahoma . The CDC made light of his death saying it was not contracted from eating domestic cow but rather "more likely" from ingesting elk (they couldn't really identify the source but only surmised).

Elk wouldn't bring on a national crisis. Do you know what the elk in our western states eat? They eat feed dropped on the prairie by humans that contains tissue from the central nervous system of cows. We fatten them up for the hunt.

All but one of the remaining five people who died incredibly excruciating deaths that year got no mention in the press.

The human risk that the writer thinks is important but not worth all this hoopla will become more important than 150 people a year as our future becomes the present. If we continue to the drop the cheap but deadly feed to our wild life and do not regulate what goes into our cows' tummies now, our children will suffer the ravages of this incurable deadly disease. The insidious infiltration of this inexpensive feed product that has killed "so few people" will eventually touch us all. How naive to think it won't.

Prevention - don't put the contaminating tissue into the feed! We can eliminate this disease from the face of the Earth. The cost? Someone's political future vs. the lives of generations to come.
KC's View: