business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Times of London reports that Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have been ordered by India’s highest court to make public the chemical compositions of their soft drinks – including the secret formula for Coke that has been secret for more than a century.

Local analysts say that if the companies don’t comply with the order, they could be banned from selling product in India, one of the world’s fastest growing consumer cultures.

The ruling follows a report issued about a week ago by the non-governmental Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) saying that testing has revealed that Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products are showing 30 times more pesticides than was found in a previous study three years ago.

“Soft drinks are completely safe,” the Indian Soft Drink Manufacturers Association (ISDMA) replied in a statement disputing the findings. “The soft drinks manufactured in India comply with stringent international norms and all applicable national regulations.”
KC's View:
Tough decisions to be made by Coke and Pepsi, which have to be concerned that once they make their formulas public, it will open the door to the entire world ripping them off.

The two companies’ problems in India aren’t new, since they have long been criticized for bringing what some feel is a certain colonial attitude to the country as they have dominated the soft drink business there.

We read this story and immediately flashed on the wonderful John Huston movie, “The Man Who Would Be King” (based on the Rudyard Kipling novel), in which Peachy Carnahan (played by Michael Caine) says, “Detriments you call us? Detriments? Well I want to remind you that it was detriments like us that built this bloody Empire…”

Though it probably is important for Coke and Pepsi to remember what happened to Carnahan and his compatriot, Daniel Dravot (Sean Connery) when they pushed their luck too far…