Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Mar 12, 2008 12:34 PM

Mexican Coca Cola - some made with HFCS

The Chowhound Team split this tangent from the Los Angeles board

* * * * * * *

Some Mexican bottlers have switched to HFCS, but not all. This is due to a trade ruling (apparently, American protectionism of its corn industry is OK, but Mexican protection of its sugar industry isn't). I don't know how to figure out whether a particular Mexican-bottled beverage really has sugar or HFCS, but I would trust the purchaser at Galco's to ensure that he's getting what he advertises.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Normally, we'll buy the bottled stuff from Mexico from our local BevMo. I checked the label before, but not recently. Hope they haven't converted to that icky corn syrup!

    1. That's flat-out depressing considering you don't know what you're getting since they slap those generic labels on the bottles that say HFCS and/or sugar. It would require deciphering the codes printed on the bottle and doing some investigative work.

      4 Replies
      1. re: nakni

        Oh you can taste the difference from HFCS and sugar coke, with or without a label.
        I have tasted both from Mexican variety and still much prefer the sugar.

        1. re: b0ardkn0t

          Same here. My issue is that I don't want to buy a case at Costco (which the local Costcos are finally going to stock at least temporarily) and find out it has corn syrup in it instead. The prices per bottle at the Mexican market aren't cheap. I'd stock up on Passover Coke if I could so I would know for sure, but Jews aren't exactly prominent in Idaho. I could call up probably the only temple in town and see if they know where to look.

          1. re: nakni

            You could absolutely do that -- call the synagogue and ask where you can source kosher-l'Pesach Coke.

            1. re: nakni

              I live in Portland, OR and a local Kmart here has started selling the Mexican coke made with sugar.; I checked the label. This kmart is in a predominately hispanic neighborhood so I am not sure if all kmarts are doing this. Downside, they are selling loose bottles. Real fun carting out many bottles of unboxed cola.

        2. Here's a link to an article in Spanish from March 1, 2005 in which FEMSA (the biggest Mexican bottler) says it was already using HFCS (jarabe de maiz de alta fructosa) in a part of its production in spite of a 20% tariff on incoming HFCS:

          I found this statement particularly interesting:

          “Si tuviéramos la libertad total de usar jarabe de maíz de alta fructosa probablemente usaríamos alrededor de 30 a 35 por ciento (de las necesidades de endulzante) pero eso es asumiendo que tuviéramos la libertad total en ese frente y no la tenemos”, sostuvo el directivo."

          The bottler is saying that if he had total liberty to purchase corn syrup he'd probably use around 30-35 percent of it as the sweetener necessary for his products. However he does not have that liberty.

          So I would assume that at this time at least FEMSA was using about an 80-20 sugar-HFCS mix.

          I can't find too much definitive stuff after that, but I do know that the sugar lobby in Mexico and the bottlers were going head to head over this.

          The bottom line is that there is a strong likelihood that the majority of coke bottlers in Mexico use a mix of HFCS and sugar. This would explain why it still tastes better than what we have here, but not as great as it might. I recently got a bottle of coke at Galco's with a different bottle cap that indicated it was bottled in Morelos, Mexico, the heart of Mexico's sugar industry. I thought that bottle tasted better than the bottles from Mexicali or Tijuana, also available at Galco's. I'm betting that local bottler in Morelos (not FEMSA) uses pure cane sugar as a result of pressure from the local sugar farmers.

          But a lot of this remains conjecture.