Sugar rush - the craze for kosher Coke
Monday March 19, 2007
American Coca-Cola connoisseurs are celebrating the start of the most important season in their calendar. They say the perfect can of Coke is only available for a few weeks a year - and if you want the authentic taste of the Real Thing, you need to buy the Jewish Thing. Passover begins on April 2. For eight days, observant Jews keep kosher for Passover by not consuming any product containing grains, apart from matzo, the cracker eaten in place of bread. This poses a problem in the US, where cheap high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been used instead of sugar to sweeten American Coke since the drink's relaunch in 1985. Corn is a grain, so Coke isn't kosher.
The company responded by manufacturing a limited quantity of Kosher Coke, sweetened with sugar, in cans and bottles with "OU-P" or "Kosher L'Pesach" printed in Hebrew on a yellow cap. Kosher Coke is only available during March and April in areas with high Jewish populations, such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Boston.
Kosher Coke has been hard to find in recent years because non-Jewish aficionados are bulk-buying the product while stocks last. They say sugared Coke doesn't have the cloying aftertaste associated with HFCS, and could be less harmful to your health, as recent research has shown a link between increased HFCS consumption and the growing incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The Kosher Coke buzz began on online message boards in early February. "Woohoo!" exclaimed Zap, a sugar-fuelled member of BevNet.com. "I've had to ration the remaining cans from last year's stash - there are only about nine left!"
The Coca-Cola Company insists that this sugar rush is misplaced. "We have heard that our kosher-for-Passover Coca-Cola is popular with a variety of consumers," says spokesman Scott Williamson. "However, consumer taste testing indicates that the final products are equivalent in taste."
UK consumers keen to sample this new variety needn't rush across the Atlantic. British Coke is already sweetened with sugar - about eight teaspoonfuls in every 330ml can
Ironically, I've always hated KLP Coke and used to hoard the regular kind till the last minute before Pesach. But for some reason I'm OK with the UK stuff, although I can't really drink it warm which I can with the US kind.