Although intended for consumption in Mexico, Mexican Coca-Cola has become very popular in the United States because of a flavor that Coca-Cola fans call more "natural tasting". While many believe the primary difference in flavor between Mexican Coca-Cola and the American Coca-Cola formula is that Mexican Coke is sweetened using cane sugar as opposed to high-fructose corn syrup, a scientific analysis of Mexican Coke found no sucrose (standard sugar), but instead found fructose and glucose levels similar to other soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. Most of the Mexican Coke exported to the United States is made with cane sugar, while some Mexican bottlers may use high-fructose corn syrup for drinks intended for sale in Mexico. Therefore, while most of the Coca-Cola labeled "Mexican" in the United States is made with cane sugar, this is not true of all Coca-Cola sold in Mexico.
Coca-Cola opened its first bottling franchise in Mexico in the 1920s with Grupo Tampico, and then Grupo ARMA. Monterrey-based FEMSA is currently the largest Coca-Cola bottler in Mexico, along with most of Latin America.
The Coca-Cola Company originally imported the Mexican-produced version into the U.S. primarily to sell it to immigrants who grew up with that formula. Mexican Coke was first sold at grocers who served Latino clientele, but as its popularity grew, larger chains like Costco and Kroger began to stock it. It is now readily available throughout most of the United States.
In 2013, a Mexican Coca-Cola bottler announced it would stop using cane sugar in favor of glucose-fructose syrup. It later clarified this change would not affect those bottles especially exported to the United States as "Coca-Cola Nostalgia" products.
Results from taste tests have been mixed. In a taste test conducted by a local Westchester, New York magazine, tasters noted that the Mexican Coke had "a more complex flavor with an ineffable spicy and herbal note", and that it contained something "that darkly hinted at root beer or old-fashioned sarsaparilla candies".
However, participants in a different double-blind taste test overwhelmingly preferred American Coca-Cola. Participants in taste tests conducted by Coca-Cola reported no perceptible differences in flavor between American Coke and the Mexican formulation.
Mexican Coke is sold in a thick 355 ml (12.0 US fl oz) or 500 ml (17 US fl oz) glass bottle, which some have described in contrast to the more common plastic American Coke bottles as being "more elegant, with a pleasingly nostalgic shape". Most exporters of Mexican Coke affix a paper sticker containing the nutrition facts label, ingredients, and bottler and/or exporter's contact information, to meet US food labeling requirements.
- Pepsi-Cola Made with Real Sugar, a line of Pepsi products flavored with cane sugar
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The first Coca-Cola bottling company in Mexico, Grupo Tampico, with eighty-three years of history, operates a series of gas stations, computer stores, automotive retailers, hotels, and radio stations, and they still distribute Coca-Cola
- de Bell, Leendert Andrew (2005). Globalization, regional development and local response. p. 68.
Starting out in the late 1920s as a small factory for ice cream and soft drinks, the company acquired one of Mexico's first franchises to bottle soft drinks under license of the Coca-Cola Company in the 1930s. In the following decades, operations...
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