The Uncoveror announced last year that The Coca-Cola Company was going to change the formula for their flagship beverage. In January, they rolled out a new look. While the company insists that nothing but the packaging has changed, a growing number of people are complaining that it just does not taste good any more.
Some have speculated that Coca-Cola has stopped using cane sugar to cut costs, substituting cheaper high fructose corn syrup, and a public outcry will make them switch back. It is worse than that. A key ingredient in the secret formula for "the real thing" can no longer be obtained at any price: Saskra root. While the product now hitting the shelves may not be the 1985 formula for "new" Coke, something has changed, and they are not being forthright about it. Whether they will openly admit what they have done, or continue to say that people who complain are just imagining things remains to be seen. Here is The Uncoveror's original exclusive from 2002.
April 23 1985, Coca-Cola introduced, "New Coke," a sweeter, more Pepsi-like version of the original. People were outraged. Although marketing research had indicated that the new formula was preferred in taste-tests by a striking margin, they had killed an American Icon. To many, it was as if someone had killed off baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, or Chevrolet. People were outraged, and avoided the new product in droves. Coca-Cola classic was rushed back into the market as a result of the backlash. "New Coke" is about to be re-introduced, replacing classic,
whether people like it or not. This time, they have no choice.
If you read the ingredients of Coca-Cola, you will see "natural flavors." What they are is Coke's trade secret. One of those natural flavors is called Saskra root. It is an herb that has gone extinct. All supplies of it will be exhausted by December.
A Coca-Cola representative spoke to THE UNCOVEROR on the condition of anonymity. "Saskra root," he told us, "is irreplaceable. We have tried creating the formula without the Saskra, and it just breaks down. The natural flavors separate like oil and water, and the resulting concoction tastes nasty. We have tried to substitute different herbs and ingredients to no avail. The results taste awful. We have hired top scientists to try to synthesize Saskra root, and have even tried to clone the plant, to no avail. It can not be synthesized or cloned."
How did this happen? Did the herbal medicine people over-harvest this plant until none remained? No. Saskra Fortissima was a weed that once grew alongside Coca plants in the wild. Without some of the substances Coca plants leave in soil after several growing seasons, Saskra can not grow. It has always been rare, and since the late 1970s, has been found only in Columbia. Thanks to the U.S. Government's spraying of Columbian farms to kill Coca plantations, Saskra is now extinct. No Saskra plants, no Saskra root.
"We originally made New Coke," said our source, "for two reasons. Diet Coke, which had an entirely new formula, and did not use Saskra, was gaining popularity for its taste alone, not because it was a diet drink. Saskra was becoming so scarce, that it was cost-prohibitive. We decided to try making Diet Coke with real sugar instead of artificial sweeteners, and New Coke was born. In taste tests, everybody loved it. We could cut costs, by dropping Saskra root, and increase sales by introducing a better tasting product. We just did not anticipate that people were so sentimentally attached to the original formula. We had to reluctantly introduce Coca-Cola Classic. People were so glad to have it, that they didn't mind the price increase we had to make, factoring in the cost of obtaining Saskra Root."
said the Coca-Cola spokesman, "the war on drugs has caused the extinction
of Saskra Fortissima. We have searched the world over. There are just no
more living specimens. The DEA's goons did not care when they began spraying in
Columbia, that they were causing starvation by destroying whole farms, and all
Columbia's poorest citizens had to eat. They did not care that many of the farms
they were crop-dusting with herbicides had never grown Coca at all. They
probably did not even know that Saskra existed. We now have to decide if we
should roll out new coke again with a big ad campaign, or just not tell people,
and hope the ones who taste the difference, and raise a stink can be effectively
accused of spreading false rumors."
No matter how the Coca-Cola Company decides to do it, New Coke will be back to stay by December, and Coke Classic will be gone forever, a casualty of the war on drugs.