11 Surprising Facts About Coca-Cola You Might Not Know

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Coca-Cola is everywhere. The flavored syrup combined with carbonated water was invented by John S. Pemberton in 1886. Today, it is one of the the most beloved refreshments of the modern world. Sold in more than 200 countries, it’s hard to find a person who has not tried Coca-Cola at least once in their life. While a majority of us love the beverage, it doesn’t mean that we know everything about it. From its surprising history to its unimaginable success, here are some fun facts about the American product that is widely recognized throughout the world.

1. Every day, more than 1.9 billion servings of Coca-Cola are consumed all over the world.

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Every day, in more than 200 countries, more than 1.9 billion Coca-Cola beverages are consumed. This means that, on average, more than 10,000 soft drinks are being consumed every second throughout the globe. Of all the countries that enjoy the Coca-Cola product, there are two countries on Earth where the product is not sold: Cuba and North Korea. Until 2012, Myanmar was also on the list of countries that Coca-Cola refuses to do business with. But in 2012, Coca-Cola agreed to start selling its drinks in Myanmar for the first time in 60 years. (source)

2. There are so many Coke products that if you drank one per day, it would take you more than nine years to try them all. According to official reports, Coca-Cola has a product portfolio of more than 3,500 beverages (and 500 brands), including sodas, energy drinks, and soy-based drinks.

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Image: Matt Botsford

According to the American company, there are more than 500 beverage brands inclusive of more than 3,500 beverages. These products range from regular, low-calorie and no-calorie sparkling beverages to still beverages; such as 100 percent fruit juices and fruit drinks, waters, sports and energy drinks, teas and coffees, milk-based and soy-based beverages. In 2011 alone, the company added more than 500 new beverage products, including more than 100 low-calorie and no-calorie options for consumers. According to their official website, there are more than 800 of these beverage products that are available throughout the world. (source)

3. Only a few people know the secret formula of Coca-Cola. The small group with the knowledge are not allowed to travel together, as a precaution. The secret formula of Coca-Cola is also written on a piece of paper which is kept in a vault in the United States.

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Image: Coca-Cola

The formula for the fizzy drink is one of the most well-guarded secrets in the world. John Pemberton, inventor of Coca-Cola, invented the drink in 1886, but for more than half a century, he kept the secret safe inside his head. The original recipe was only written down in 1919 and until then, it was passed down from one generation to another by word of mouth. The final formula for the product was safely guarded in a bank in Atlanta since the 1920’s but Coca-Cola decided to emphasize their marketing strategy.

86 years later, the company built their own vault and moved the formula, where it is locked within thick steel walls. According to the company, only two senior Coca-Cola executives and a handful of people know the formula at any given time. However, the company never revealed names or positions of the people but explain that the secret keepers are not allowed to travel together on the same plane; as a precaution. (source 1, 2)

4. Pepsi once did them a huge favor in 2006 when two Coca-Cola employees tried to sell them trade secrets in return for thousands of dollars.

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Image: Ja San Miguel/Pixabay

In 2006, Joya Williams, 42, and Ibrahim Dimson, 31, two Coca-Cola employees, thought that they could make some easy money. According to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Georgia, the two conspired to sell inside trade-secrets from Coca-Cola to Pepsi. Since Pepsi was a rival of Coca-Cola, the duo thought that the plan would undergo a smooth transition and also asked Pepsi to pay them almost $100,000. The same year, the duo handed over confidential papers and even a liquid sample to whom they thought was a Pepsi executive. Sadly for them, it was an FBI agent, who was acting undercover.

Pepsi also alerted Coca-Cola and the FBI about the offer and a Pepsi spokesman told CNN that competition “must be fair and legal”. The two were apprehended by FBI agents and a third person was also arrested who was acting as an insider. In 2007, a judge sentenced them to 5-8 years in prison and also forced them to pay $40,000 in restitution. (source)

5. Coca-Cola cans were actually invented for soldiers.

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Image: Jonny Caspari

During the late 1940’s to the 1970’s, as the United States was developing at an unprecedented pace, the Coca-Cola company was focusing on improving their packaging method. However, during WWII, the company saw that soldiers and armed forces overseas were in dire need of a better packaging method. So, the company came up with the aluminum pull-top cans, which was created out of necessity. Although it was practical and allowed the drink to be stored safely and for longer periods of time, the materials needed to create the cans were rationed during World War II. This forced the company to halt production of cans until the conflict ended. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that Coca-Cola began offering the cans to civilian customers. (source)

6. There’s a reason why Coca-Cola from McDonald’s tastes crisper, sharper, and fresher. It’s because McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have had a unique relationship. While the company sends the Coca-Cola syrup in plastic bags to other sellers, McDonald’s receives the syrup in in stainless steel tanks.

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Image: Pixabay

Since the company was founded, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s have had a unique relationship. Ray Kroc always dreamed of expanding his little hamburger joint into a fast-food goliath and in his vision, he asked Coca-Cola to join him. The company agreed and since then, the two have been inseparable. Coca-Cola has since shared exclusive techniques with McDonald’s when it comes to storing their product, which makes it distinct from other sellers. Apart from that, Coca-Cola also ships its famous syrup to most restaurants in plastic bags, but for McDonald’s, it uses stainless steel tanks.

The stainless steel tanks preserve the syrup’s flavor and protects it from temperature, light, and air. Limiting exposure to outside elements preserves the syrup’s true flavor, which is why the soft drink we get from McDonald’s tastes unique to all others. According to The New York Times, McDonald’s also filters their water multiple times, in order to ensure purity and maintain consistent flavor and quality. (source)

7. In 1985, a Coca-Cola employee was fired for being engaged to a Pepsi employee.

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In 1985, Amanda Blake Cronin, 30, of Northampton, was engaged to David Cronin. The couple worked together for Coca-Cola, but after a while, David left the company to go work for Pepsi, which Coca-Cola did not appreciate. According to Amanda, the company then tried to persuade her into convincing David to leave his new job or to quit herself. Amanda found that the company had no right to interfere with her personal life or to convince anyone to leave their job, so she filed a damage suit and asked for $600,000 in damages. The New York Times reports that in 1986, Coca-Cola settled the case out of court. (source)

8. Indian farmers found an alternative to cheap pesticides. Farmers in the state of Chhattisgarh are using Coca-Cola and Pepsi products to combat pests. The sweetness attracts ants, which in turn feed on the larva of insects.

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For centuries, farmers have been trying cheaper alternatives to harmful pesticides. Some farmers in India have discovered that the soft drinks are not only cheap, but can also act as pesticides. In the Durg, Rajnandgaon and Dhamtari districts of Chhattisgarh, farmers are sprinkling Pepsi and Coke products in rice plantations. The sweetness of the drinks attract ants, which in turn feed on the larva of insects. According to the farmers, while a bag of pesticide costs anywhere around 600-700 rupees ($10), they can easily get the job done with the help of a Coke or Pepsi bottle, which costs 55-60 rupees ($1) per acre. (source)

9. The Coca-Cola brand is worth an estimated $204 billion – more than Budweiser, Pepsi, Starbucks and Red Bull combined, making it the world’s third most valuable brand.

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Coca-Cola is undeniably the world’s most popular soft drink. With more than 1.9 billion servings every day, or 560 million liters, the company is worth more than $204 billion. According to Business Insider, 57 billion servings of all kinds of beverages owned by the company are consumed every day, all around the globe. If every drop of Coke ever produced were placed in 8-ounce bottles and laid end-to-end, the bottles would reach the moon and back more than 2,000 times. To put that in another perspective, that would be one round​-trip a day for five years, seven months, and 14 days. (source)

10. Production of Coca-Cola requires enormous amounts of water. In the past three decades, it has caused water shortages in some regions where supplies are scarce, such as India, Latin America and Africa.

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In developing countries, production of the soft-drink has caused extreme scarcity in water. According to The Guardian, Coca-Cola has had a serious impact in communities in several Indian states and in Latin America. Reports show that in some states of India, farmers are struggling to irrigate their lands after manufacturing facilities were established in close proximity. The Guardian also reports that in 2006, a Coca-Cola plant in the state of Uttar Pradesh was forced to close, two years after it was established, after it was uncovered that the plant was contaminating local water; which villagers were depending on for survival. In 2004 alone, the company used 283 billion liters of water and for every 2.7 liters of water it takes, it produces one liter of product. According to the company’s official website, they have been working on giving back more water to the environment than they are consuming. (source)

11. On July 12, 1985, Coca-Cola became the first soft drink to ever be consumed in outer space when astronauts tested the “Coca-Cola Space Can” aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger.

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Image: Coca-Cola

On July 12, 1985, Coca-Cola managed to become the world’s first soft drink to ever be consumed in outer space. For the astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, Coca-Cola designed the Coca-Cola Space Can, allowing them to enjoy the soft drink. Apart from that, Coca-Cola also installed the ‘Space Dispenser’ on the Space Shuttle Discovery, which was the first soft drink equipment to be used in space. (source)

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