Are Dasani drops healthy

The shine of yore

Is the Coca-Cola Century Over? In 1886 the pharmacist John Pemberton sold a jug of the later legendary syrup for the first time. A year later the product was patented, offered in every state in the USA as early as 1895 and then began its triumphal march through the world. In the 20th century, Coca-Cola became the most expensive brand in the world, the value of which the consulting firm Interbrand estimates at over 67 billion dollars. The core of the Coke strategy is still today the motto given by the former CEO Robert Woodruff, to make the shower available to everyone anywhere and anytime "at arm's length" - in restaurants, at vending machines, in kiosks and supermarkets. Supplying a major event like the soccer World Cup in Germany with Coke is an absolute must for the company. This is how the drink became one of the few truly global products: The syrup concentrate produced by the Coca-Cola Company is sent to bottlers, in which the group is often directly involved. These bottlers only add water, carbonic acid, and sugar (or other sweeteners) to the syrup. The taste can vary slightly depending on the region, but the raw material is the same worldwide: whether in the crush of Calcutta, in the desert heat of Marrakech or in the humid rain of the Malagasy capital Antananarivo - hardly anything represents the American way of life as universally as this dark effervescent in the waisted bottle. And there is hardly any other product that has so many myths about it. The "Cokelore" ranges from the - scientifically refuted - health risk due to the allegedly high acid content to the guesswork about the Coca-Cola formula with the secret ingredient "7X", which was used as a marketing tool from an early age. Even under the Cuban immigrant Roberto Goizueta, who headed the group for a total of 17 years until 1997, a continuation of the success seemed the most natural thing in the world. With double-digit growth and happy shareholders. Coke - the real thing. The value of the stock rose more than 30-fold during Goizueta's reign. Was it the sudden death of the charismatic Goizueta that set the company back? Or did he, with his one-sided focus on the core brand and the soft drink market, himself already plant the seedling for the later crisis? This remains one of the most controversial questions even in Atlanta. One thing is clear: the two immediate successors of Goizueta and Isdell's predecessor did not have a lucky hand. They don't get any big hits with new products. In addition, the Coca-Cola group under Goizueta had developed a system with the help of subsidiaries such as the American Coca-Cola Enterprises to boost its profits, for example by Coca-Cola buying smaller bottlers and passing them on to the subsidiaries - at a profit. Quite legal, but that source of income dried up in the 1990s. There was also a never-ending series of scandals that damaged the company's image. Sometimes it was about racial discrimination, another time about beverages contaminated with chemicals. In 2004 it was announced that Coke was selling bottled Thames water from its Dasani brand in the UK. In the previous year there was a protest against Coca-Cola in India - a bottling plant, according to the criticism, should be responsible for lowering the water table in the area. The death of workers at a bottler in Colombia who wanted to organize themselves caused a sensation. Even if the company has no direct guilt, the damage to its image remains. Today the red and white logo represents for many America skeptics - not only during boycotts at universities because of alleged wrongdoings in developing countries - rather the ugly face of ruthless American capitalism and imperialism. As if that weren't enough, Coca-Cola recently even had to rely on the help of arch rival Pepsi: three Coke employees had tried to sell recipes to Pepsi. The betrayal was exposed when the competitor informed Coke headquarters. Pepsi hardly needed to get the Coke formula, either. The competitor overtook the Atlanta giant a few months ago in terms of market value. In 1996, PepsiCo was barely a third as much as Coca-Cola. While the Dow Jones Index has risen by around 50 percent since 1997, Coke shares stuck like chewy syrup between $ 40 and $ 45 - about 40 percent below the high and about the same level as ten years ago. The group recently delivered a “decent quarter”, says industry analyst Marc Greenberg from Deutsche Bank in New York, “but that is not yet the turning point”. That will only be achieved when Coca-Cola can again achieve high single-digit growth rates, which Isdell has set as a goal. But where is the growth supposed to come from? Is it enough to buy smaller competitors or suppliers from previously untapped segments of the beverage market? Just like a few weeks ago when Coca-Cola in Germany took over Apollinaris, the Queen of Table Waters. The deal is likely to have cost a three-digit million amount. Or does the group have to venture into completely new areas? There is regular speculation on Wall Street that Coca-Cola will team up with one of the large food companies such as Unilever, Danone or Nestlé. But then the group could lose its identity. “I really don't think we need to move out of the non-alcoholic beverage realm to any great extent,” says Isdell.