The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
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Coke to Fleece America by Charging More for Less, Says CSPI

$8.50 a Gallon for Small Cans of Water & High Fructose Corn Syrup?


In recent ads, Coca-Cola
cheerfully congratulated itself for introducing a new, 7.5-ounce can of
soda. While calorie counters may appreciate the convenience of a
90-calorie can, dollar counters may be in for sticker shock: On an
ounce-for-ounce basis, the new cans cost 50 to 140 percent more than
12-ounce cans.

In Washington, D.C., 12-packs of 12-ounce cans have been
available for between $4 and $5.99 at Giant and Safeway stores. Both
stores charge $3.99 for 8-packs of the new 7.5-ounce cans. So while the
bigger cans have been selling for between $0.89 and $1.33 per quart,
the new cans sell for $2.13 a quart, or about $8.50 a gallon.

So far, the vaunted 7.5-ounce cans are only available in
some New York City and Washington, D.C., retail outlets. The company
says they'll be available nationwide in April. Sandy Douglas, the
president of Coca-Cola North America, claims the new mini can is an
"innovation" that "reinforces the Company's support for healthy, active
lifestyles." But attentive shoppers may wonder what all the fuss is
about. Coca-Cola has sold 8-ounce cans and bottles of Coke for years
(again, at significantly inflated prices).

"The only 'innovation' here is that Coke is charging more
money for less product," Jacobson said. "Then again, these are the same
folks who are ripping off Americans with expensive frauds like the
'calorie-burning' Enviga. And 'endurance peach mango' VitaminWater,
which, besides doing nothing for one's endurance, contains no peach or
mango. Now, the company wants a pat on the back for selling little cans
of water and high-fructose corn syrup for $8.50 a gallon."

Recently, New York Governor David Paterson proposed a penny-per-ounce excise tax on soda to help pay for health programs. An angry press statement
issued by the soda industry's top lobbyist called the proposal a "money
grab, pure and simple," and patronizingly reminded the Governor that
New Yorkers "continue to struggle through a tough economy with
double-digit unemployment rates." Yet the price difference (a
"convenience tax" perhaps?) assessed by Coca-Cola on the 7.5-ounce cans
is bigger than Paterson's proposed tax--about two or three cents per

Since 1971, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has been a strong advocate for nutrition and health, food safety, alcohol policy, and sound science.