I read this article about Kosher Coke a few weeks ago, found it vaguely amusing, and forgot all about it. Then yesterday I was in Waitrose and noticed that in their passover section they had Israeli Coke.
This is odd because, as the Guardian article says, UK Coke uses real sugar and not the dastardly high fructose corn syrup which causes the problem. So why offer the Israeli version?
It’s certainly true that if you walk into any corner shop these days you will find Coke from all corners of the world. Occasionally I wonder if I ought to catalogue the stuff and review each one – I could become the Coke equivalent of Hugh Johnson. I certainly detest French Coke, and I suspect it may be because of HFC (either that or they piss in the water). But this is Waitrose – the only Coke they sell in their drinks section is from Uxbridge.
Presumably, the reason is that the Coke-not-kosher thing has spread largely by word of mouth and has taken on urban myth status. The only Coke you can truly rely on to be definitely kosher is the Israeli version and consumer demand has done the rest. Nonetheless, it’s fascinating that there is enough demand for the stuff that it gets pride of place among all the other basics in what is not that large a display. And it suggests that a hierarchy of kosher is developing, in which ancient laws of food is getting mashed up with contemporary geo-politics.
On a related note, whatever happened to Mecca Cola? It got a lot of publicity in 2003 and I remember enjoying a couple of bottles on 15/2, but I haven’t seen it since and their website appears to have not been updated for years. I tried to work out from it whether their drink was kosher or not, but couldn’t find an ingredients list. Poor show.