Coke’s insatiable thirst for resources shapes the company and reshapes the globe in this absorbing history.
Coca-Cola’s success in building a global empire out of sugary water drew on more than a secret formula and brilliant advertising. The real secret to Coke’s success was its strategy, from the beginning, to offload production costs and risks onto suppliers and franchisees. Outsourcing and a trim corporate profile enabled Coke to scale up production of a low-price beverage and realize huge profits.
But the costs shed by Coke have fallen on the public at large. Coke now uses an annual 79 billion gallons of water, an increasingly precious global resource, and its reliance on corn syrup has helped fuel our obesity crisis. Bartow J. Elmore explores Coke through its ingredients, showing how the company secured massive quantities of coca leaf, caffeine, sugar, and other inputs. Citizen Coke became a giant in a world of abundance; in a world of scarcity, it is a strain on resources and all who depend on them.