Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Real Thing: It's a Matter of Taste

Close to a year ago, right before we found out that this year would be spent in China, Steve and I went "across the pond" to Leeds. At the time we blogged a bit about the outrageous prices on everything from taxi cab rides to Coca-Cola.

Now, for the comparison...

While the taste of Coke in Leeds was different than in the US, and the 500 mL volume, which is smaller than back home, had a price tag that, in pounds, was the same as the larger bottles found in the States, the data on Coke in China was, until around a week ago, as follows: The taste...exactly the same as in the States. The cost...around 2.3 kuai or 30 cents for that larger 600 mL bottle. Great deal. However...

These data are not complete. They're actually "pouring in" as I write...

In the last week I have unleashed what seems to be a stunning Coca-Cola conspiracy (perhaps designed to make me quit my soda habit altogether, that is!). While I have been delighted that a taste of home exists all around China, I have evidence that a change is "a-brewing." I have noticed that the last few bottles we have opened have tasted like the much less palatable ones of those in Leeds and in China '04.


Olympics are over.

Why do I think these two subjects have anything to do with one another?

Those recent bottles have no Olympic markings on them.

As proof, I have purchased several bottles with graphic designs of the Bird's Nest, Olympic Athletes, and the Olympic Rings that remain on the shelves of the Wu-Mart Hypermarket (yes, that's really its name) and one of the less-patronized tiny shops in our neighborhood.

The taste?

Perfect for me.

What would be the motivation for the differences?

My theory is that the formula that is making its way back into the stores is actually the consumer favorite here. The one I enjoy is, obviously, for Western taste-buds. Could it be that those waiguoren tastes were catered to during the Olympics and that now, since those weeks have passed, the Real Thing for China is re-emerging on store shelves?

My plan?

You got it! Stockpile...



At 8:11 AM, Blogger Donna said...

I am also a Coke fan and when we were there, it definitely didn't taste like home...but, wonder of wonders, the Pepsi there tasted like Coke at home, at least to me. So if you run out of your stockpile, try a Pepsi. (I'm back on Coke now that we're home).

At 9:20 AM, Blogger The Balla Family said...

Dear Donna,

Thanks for the tip. I think you may be onto something. In the States, I'm a Pepsi-o-holic, and Steve prefers Coke. Yet here, Steve drinks Pepsi because he thinks it tastes like the Coke back home as well. So when my rations run out, I'll have to give it a try.



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