Your Sweet Soft Drinks May Be Under Fire Again

“Do you have Coke or Pepsi?”

It’s where battle lines may be drawn in restaurants, and the conversation can go many different routes. If you only serve Pepsi, you might have them just go to a tea or other drink; the commitment to Coca-Cola is decidedly that important for many, especially in the South where the drink originates.

There’s been a delineation in recent years, though, and it’s a request for “Mexican Coke”. The traditional concept has been that Mexican-produced bottles of Coca-Cola still use traditional sugar for sweetener than the high fructose corn syrup that’s been in use in America since the retiring of New Coke. For purists, this is the only appropriate way to drink Coca-Cola, and if your restaurant is in the right area, you may have decided to stock up on it.

While regular Coca-Cola is easily obtainable for restaurants, Mexican Coca-Cola requires a bit thinking outside of the box; you may be able to find it in bulk glass containers at big box stores such as Costco and BJ’s, and reselling them in your restaurant might require a unique marketing plan. You could sell traditional fountain Coke with free refills for $1, but a glass bottle of the pure sugar Coke for $2, and you’ll make a profit either way.

There’s only one problem: due to Mexico’s 70% overweight rate, a new tax looks to be levied against sugary drinks, equaling 8 cents per liter of drink, The Atlantic reports. This could possibly cause the various bottlers of Coca Cola in Mexico to reformulate to the cheaper high fructose corn syrup, making the drink effectively the same as it has been in America for year. It might not be a change for some, as reports even show that not all Coke labeled with “Sugar” as an ingredient may actually include it, and more likely do include the high fructose corn syrup that is at the heart of so much disdain in modern diets.

The tax has been approved, and now time will be the only thing between fans of the soft drink and their despair, as questions begin to raise if the bottling company can handle the increased price point.

This Mexican tax is a tale reminiscent of Mayor Bloomberg’s infamous bid to ban sugary drinks in New York City. His ban limited sugary soft drinks to a 16 ounce or less size when sold in restaurants, and was soundly defeated in both courts and public opinion. One one hand, it’s a good idea to try to help stem the tide of obesity in North America, and much of it can be tracked back to the surprising amounts of sugar in soft drinks that people drink on a daily basis, but on the other hand, it’s traditionally in bad form to deny people what they want and in what form. There are people out there clamoring for the Kid Size drink from Paunch Burger (Parks and Recreation named the drink Kid Size, as it is not meant for a child, but contains roughly the amount of liquid that a child would consist of if liquified), and for good or bad, people want options.