This is episode 2 of week.  I posted the video again, but I don’t know how to cut a YouTube clip down. So please refer to the 5mins30second mark.

When in Houston on the way to Costa Rica, I mentioned that I was not impressed with Hershey’s (which I hadn’t sampled in a very long time).  I was equally downtrodden about Texas Coca Cola.  The fountain stuff tasted terrible, so I asked the waitress for a bottle instead.  The (plastic) bottled stuff tasted equally bad.

This video answers my question “Why does Coca Cola taste better in Canada and the UK?” It’s down to fact American bottlers use corn syrup instead of original-recipe cane sugar, and/or fructose in some other parts of the world.  One pleasant surprise about Costa Rica – Coca Cola bottlers use proper cane sugar (which grows locally), and the taste is great.

Sadly, brands modify their recipe / features depending on the market, and it’s not always based on consumer demand. Sometimes it’s just based on cold hard cost facts. The sugar lobby in America manages quotas that bring sugar prices up for their customers, and corn syrup is considered a good enough alternative by Coca Cola in the USA.

By doing it consistently across an entire market, most people (who don’t travel abroad) can’t tell the difference. You get used to what you get.

It does, however, change my point about brand racism in a previous point. Sometimes a foreign manifestation of exactly the same brand can just be better. Maybe Guinness in Ireland tastes better because barrels travel less. Maybe Costa Rican Coca Cola tastes better because of the fresher, widely available cane sugar. Maybe my Samsung NC10 from Britain had Bluetooth and my NC10 from Canada didn’t because Canadians don’t care as much about Bluetooth. Maybe Cadbury’s modifies the recipe of its chocolate for warm weather countries so it doesn’t melt on the shelf (not a problem in the cooler climes of Great Britain).

But you only notice if you really care.  And maybe most people don’t.

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Ingredient Branding, Product Differentiation