Man Eats Mars – WIF Candy

Leave a comment

Fascinating Facts

About the

Mars Candy Company

Young or old, we all love candy and the Mars Company has been making some of the most popular and beloved candy bars and confections for as long as most of us can remember. They are known around the world for beloved items like the Mars Bar, Snickers, M&M’s and so many others. However, they are also suppliers of more than just candy. Mars also owns multiple popular pet food brands, as well as the Wrigley Company and several other brands. The history of the Mars Company and their products is a fascinating journey through the land of sweets.

 10. The Milky Way in the US is the Mars Bar in the United Kingdom

Those who live in the United States are very familiar with a candy bar known as the Milky Way. It is made up of nougat and caramel coated in chocolate and is incredibly delicious. The name is actually inspired by the fact that the creator was trying to mimic the popular malted milkshakes of the day, and not really inspired by our galaxy as some imagine. Many of us who love this candy bar may take it for granted when traveling, only to find that it doesn’t exist in quite the same form in other parts of the world.

In the United Kingdom and almost everywhere else it is sold besides the USA, there is a very similar bar – although not made with the exact same ingredients – known as the Mars Bar, that replaces the traditional Milky Way in those regions. To make matters more confusing, you may actually see a candy bar called the Milky Way when traveling abroad, but that version of the Milky Way is actually the European version of our current 3 Musketeers bar. And yes, all of these are produced, sold and marketed by the Mars Candy Company.

9. The 3 Musketeers Has its Name Because it was Once Three Flavors Packaged Together

Many people have wondered why in the world the 3 Musketeers bar has the name that it does. It is a chocolate bar filled with a nougat fairly similar to that in a Milky Way, except airier and fluffier. It enjoys a certain strong popularity of its own in the United States, but that doesn’t bring most people any closer to an explanation. Most people cannot be blamed for not knowing either – the package no longer has any three musketeers on the logo, and it has been a very long time since the product namesake made since.

The reason it has its name is because originally, the candy bar was packaged to share with three separate pieces, and each piece was a different flavor – chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Not long ago some of you may remember the Mars Company releasing a set of promotional mini 3 Musketeers candies with the flavors of Cappuccino, French Vanilla, and Strawberry, as a throwback to their roots. It would certainly be interesting if they brought back the original 3 Musketeers with all three bars wrapped in the same package, it would probably be a huge hit.

8. The Mars Company Also Owns Pet Food Brands Pedigree And Whiskas

When most people think of a candy company pet food is not something that immediately jumps to mind. However, the Mars Company has owned several pet food brands for many years now, including the well known Pedigree dog foodbrand and Whiskas cat food brand. Some might imagine that this was simply part of some strategic acquisition or deal, but Mars is very serious about their pet food business and has been going to great lengths to increase their market share and dominance in that sector.

Just a few years ago in 2014 Mars coughed up almost three billion in cash toProctor and Gamble to buy up most of their existing pet food business, which includes the brands Iams, Natura and Eukanuba. The president of their petcare division was excited about the deal and had this to say “the deal reinforces our leadership in pet nutrition and veterinary science”. We are not saying the Mars Company doesn’t own good pet food brands, but we don’t think what most people know Mars for is pet food. Most people aren’t even aware they own pet food brands at all and know them mainly for their popular candy products such as M&M’s or Snickers.

7. During WW2 M&M’s Were Only For Soldier Rations

M&M’s have a very fascinating history indeed that is steeped in the lore of wartime. It is said that originally Forrest Mars Sr. had witnessed troops in the Spanish Civil War eating chocolate that was encased in a hard candy shell. He noticed that the chocolate was managing to avoid entirely melting in the hot temperatures, and he decided he wanted to perfect the idea into a perfect candy. He approached a man named Murrie who worked as an executive for Hershey’s and struck up a partnership – incidentally their two names are what the two M’s stand for.

With World War II starting Mars saw an opportunity and started selling the candy exclusively for use in soldier rations for the duration of the war. The troops found it very convenient as it was easily packaged in small tubes, and didn’t melt easily in the heat, making it easy to preserve and transport in the thick of troop movements. Eventually the war ended and all the veterans were already big fans of the product. With chocolate no longer being rationed and the veterans introducing it to their family and friends, M&M’s became the runaway success that they are known for today.

6. The Snickers Bar Was Actually Named After a Horse

The Snickers bar is easily the most iconic candy in the United States of America. No one really needs an introduction to this perfect candy bar. Not only great tasting, but filling enough and with real peanuts which could make it feel more like a real snack. It has enjoyed incredible popularity in the United States since its inception, but most people never stop to think where the name comes from. Many candy bars have rather odd fanciful names that we never take the time to stop and think about. Probably in the case of the Snickers we don’t think about it too much because it sounds rather strange and doesn’t seem like it has much to do with the candy at all.

The reason for this is because the Snickers was named after the Mars families’ favorite horse at the time, and they thought it would be fun to name the candy bar after him. There really is nothing connecting the candy and the horse besides a flight of whimsy. Strangely though, the name was once again different when it was marketed in the United Kingdom, where it was originally known as the Marathon Bar and enjoyed popularity at the top spot for many years. However, for continuity sake Mars changed the name worldwide to the

Snickers Bar and the sales in the UK dropped significantly. Generally consumers don’t take well to a products name being changed out of the blue after so many years.

5. Mars Got Into a Dustup With Vegetarians in the United Kingdom

Back in 2007 vegetarians got angry over a very small amount of potential animal rennet in their confections. Mars had told the public that they were switching from a form of whey that came from microorganisms to a form of whey that comes from rennet – an animal byproduct taken from the stomach of calves. After a week of criticism Mars agreed to back down on using it in some of their products, but was also unwilling to pull it from all of their products entirely. This left many people who were following a strict vegetarian lifestyle angry with the company. They felt that Mars was not entirely backing down, and also that there was still confusion over what did and not did include animal rennet.

The reason for this is that there was no recall, as too many products had already gone out and there wasn’t any health risk with them – most people, even vegetarians, will not freak out about a small amount of potential animal byproduct in an already unhealthy candy bar. So many vegetarians complained that even though the company was leaving a few product lines without the whey with animal rennet, that there was no way to know for quite some time if they might be eating one of the vegetarian unsuitable versions that had already shipped out. Mars argued in return that their hadn’t been any boycott or noticeable effect on their sales, and that they were already bending over backward to please a small minority.

4. Mars Owns Uncle Ben’s Rice and Has Tried to Smooth Over the Controversially Racial Roots

Another brand many may be surprised to know is owned by Mars is the Uncle Ben’s instant rice company. An incredibly famous product ubiquitous in grocery stores around the United States and likely other parts of the world as well. Everyone knows the image and many of us feel a little strange knowing the likely origin of the image. Similar to Aunt Jemima’s pancake syrup brand, it pictures an African American in a role that depicts them as a servant preparing food for white people. The clothes worn by both of them and the title used, as well as the lack of a last name, tends to give a lot of people misgivings and wonder about what the creators were thinking when the brand was first designed.

When Mars acquired Uncle Ben’s rice not that many years ago they decided that they wanted to try to change the image to uplift the brand from its controversially racial origins. They put together a marketing campaign where Uncle Ben was depicted as the chairman of the board of his company, in a fancy office overseeing all decisions regarding the product. The advertising campaign depicted him as a wise leader who always knows best, while still leaving him with the bow tie he was known for. The reactions from many African Americans were mixed. Some people felt that it was a good step that helped rehabilitate the image of the brand, but others said it felt like it was glossing over the past and trying to hold onto something they would prefer to go away. To Mars credit, most people seemed to feel that an honest effort was being made to overcome the racially charged past of the brand.

3. The Reese’s Pieces in E.T. Were Supposed to be M&M’s, but the Mars Company Declined

E.T. is an iconic movie, and once of the most well known scenes, as well as the most famous product placements ever in movies, was the scene with the Reese’s pieces. We all know it well, and someone at Hershey’s is probably still gloating over the acquisition of a lifetime. See, the original candy intended to be used in the film were M&M’s and Mars was approached about doing a tie-in deal with the movie. In a move that someone may still be kicking themselves for, the Mars Company declined to have M&M’s in the movie or do any kind of marketing deal. Some people claim that the executive who made the decision didn’t want their product in a movie with a strange alien being, others say that they simply didn’t think the movie was going to be successful and didn’t want to tie their brand to it. Whatever the reason, the Mars Company declined, and the filmmakers were stuck looking for an alternative.

Realizing there was a similar, but not as popular candy made by Hershey’s, they struck up a deal to use Reese’s Pieces instead. The movie was successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, Hershey’s was able to use E.T. in their advertising to create a very successful association in the minds of consumers and sales of Reese’s Pieces shot up by a huge margin, gaining a strong share in the market that they had never had before.

2. Mars Has Been Criticized in the Past For Their Chocolate Buying Practices

Mars and all the other major chocolate giants have a huge problem that is hard to ignore – the fact that their chocolate, and essentially all chocolate, comes from countries where child labor, abuse and oftentimes what amounts to outright slavery are incredibly common. This has been the subject of many documentaries and lawmakers have tried to force the chocolate industry into self-policing and helping to end the child labor practices. After all, the chocolate industry is so rich it dwarfs the economies of the countries it buys chocolate from, so the power is mainly in their hands. Many of the chocolate makers have pledged to try to end child labor, but the goalposts keep shifting.

For many people the major chocolate makers such as Mars, Nestle, and Hershey’s are not doing nearly enough to deal with the issue. One of the original deadlines to majorly curb child labor was back in 2005, but the deadline was then extended to 2008 and then 2010. When 2010 came around the major manufacturers of chocolate candy made a new pledge to reduce child labor in the Ivory Coast by 70% by 2020. Not only is that another ten years away, but that isn’t even three quarters of the child labor reduced. It would seem that companies that have more money than the economies they are buying from could do more to prevent child labor and exploitation if they really wanted to.

1. Mars and Other Companies Have Moved Recently to Remove Artificial Dyes From Their Products

Recently many companies in the food industry have moved to start removing artificial dyes. One of the most famous examples is the move by Kraft to use only natural coloring in their famous instant macaroni and cheese products. What may be more surprising is that candy companies are starting to follow suit, despite not being generally known for trying to appeal to the health conscious. This shows that consumers today are increasingly concerned about artificial ingredients, even when indulging in less than healthy snacks.

Mars specifically made the news in 2016 when they promised to remove all artificial dyes from their human products and move to natural options. They did add the caveat that this will not happen right away. They expect to finish removing all artificial dyes in five years, but they are still looking for some of the best natural alternatives and it will take time to cycle old inventory out and bring in the new. This includes any Wrigley products such as Starburst and any other food lines, but does not include pet products at this time. While this may not seem huge, moving toward natural dyes can only be a good thing. More and more studies seem to suggest that many artificial dyes are dubious in terms of whether they are truly safe to be consuming on any kind of regular basis. A natural alternative that is proven safe would make people feel better about what they are eating in a world with increasingly processed foods and ingredients.


Man Eats Mars

Image result for eating animated gif

– WIF Candy

A Little Skittle-butt – WIF I Candy

Leave a comment

Tasty Facts

About Skittles

Unless, like us, you always have a bag of them ready to rock in your freezer (seriously, try Skittles straight from the freezer, they taste amazing), you probably don’t spare much thought for the rainbow colored candy snack unless you’re eating them. Well, we do. So we compiled this list of stories and facts about the candy. Partly because it’s interesting, but mostly because we really want them to sponsor us so we can live our dream of Scrooge McDuck-ing our way into a giant pile of these delicious treats.

 10. They once drained all of the color from their packaging and product during Pride Week

One of the most visually distinctive aspects of Skittles is that each bag contains more colors than a blender full of Marvel comics. Mars (Skittles’ parent company) has played up to the smattering of color each bag of their product contains by coining the tagline “taste the rainbow” and it’s hard to imagine the company would ever abandon their distinctly fabulous design and color scheme.

In fact, the company has only ever dropped the rainbow colored profile of their brand once, in 2016, in celebration of London Pride Week.

As Skittles detailed in a PR letter, they wanted the only rainbow that week to be the Pride flag and to that end released an unsettlingly boring special edition bag of Skittles totally devoid of any color. In addition, the Skittles inside the bag were similarly Spartan, being entirely white (though they were still flavored). The company then handed out thousands of these nega-Skittles from a giant, colorless float in the Pride parade. Speaking of being pelted with Skittles…

9. There’s a band who love them so much they get showered with them every time they play

Relient K is a Christian rock band that has enjoyed moderate mainstream success and has toured extensively since the late ’90s. The author of this piece is actually a big fan of the band and highly recommends their cover of Africa, his favorite song. Moving on, the band, along with loving them some Jesus, adores Skittles, going so far as to release a hidden song on one of their albums (a thing people owned before MP3s became a thing) talking about how great they are. Prior to this the band would often eat entire bags of Skittles between songs while performing, and made sure to mention on their rider for each performance that they needed their green room to contain a near infinite amount of the candy.

This love of Skittles saw it become a tradition of sorts for fans to pelt the band with bags of Skittles while playing. Amusingly, years later, the lead singer of the band admitted that he wasn’t a big a fan of the candy as his bandmates and was getting kind of annoyed with being beaned on the head 3 times per show by a large bag of flavorful delights. Information that just encouraged fans to throw even more, because of course it did.

8. They have one of the few non-embarrassing corporate Facebook pages

Skittles are a brand noted as being one of the earliest to recognize the marketing potential of social media, and have been consistently praised for their genuine understanding of the platform strengths and limitations and humor while interacting with fans. In particular, the Skittles Facebook page has often been singled out as one of the best corporate fan pages out there because it’s actually kind of entertaining.

Along with doing boring corporate stuff like responding to complaints and sharing fan photos, the brand seemed to have hired whoever runs Ryan Reynolds’ social media accounts, sharing irreverent observations that have both bemused and entertained fans for years. Gems dropped by the Skittles Facebook page (which, remember, is an official arm of the brand) include:

“If chinchillas ever lost their cool they’d have to change their name.”

“Everytime you like this a turtle learns kung-fu”

“Marshmallows don’t dissolve, they just use hot cocoa to teleport to their homeworld”

All of which we think we can all agree are infinitely better to read than the sterile corporate doublespeak touted on other, lesser official Facebook pages. Then again, it’s not like Skittles didn’t have some early missteps while using social media. For example, consider the time they…

7. Brought down Twitter, with fisting

Early in 2009, when Twitter wasn’t yet the massive, globally recognized force it is today, Skittles tried to dip their toes into the world of tweeting by changing the front page of their official website to display the feeds from their various official social media platforms. In specific regard to the Twitter bit, the brand decided it would be a good idea to display any tweets people sent to the company. You can probably guess what happened next.

Fisting happened. Or rather, thousands of people tweeted the brand with a deluge of profanity that was then proudly displayed on their official website. So many thousands of people tried flooding Skittles’ homepage with profane content that, for a brief moment, they actually brought down Twitter. In other words, Skittles once actually broke (a small part of) the internet, by inviting people to have the most offensive things they could squeeze into a 140 character long tweet displayed for millions of people (and Mars’ shareholders) to see. Take that, Kim Kardashian. And while we’re on the subject of viral tweets…

6. Their response to a Donald Trump Jr. tweet is considered a textbook example of how to respond to controversy

In 2016, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted an image comparing refugees fleeing ISIS with a bowl of poisoned Skittles. You probably heard about it. It was pretty big news and for a moment, everyone was looking kind of awkwardly at Skittles, wondering how in the hell they were supposed to respond to something like that. Think about it: not commenting on the statement would look like tacit endorsement of the sentiment of the comment, whereas addressing it could be misconstrued as trying to capitalize on the controversy. Skittles were, in most people’s eyes, kind of screwed no matter what they did.

With all eyes turned to them and a public waiting for the brand to slip up, a few hours after the tweet going viral, Skittles issued a frank statement through an official from Mars to a newspaper simply saying that Skittles are candy and refugees are people and that they didn’t wish to comment further. This astonishingly classy way of handling what could have been a minefield of controversy for the brand has been cited by experts on PR as a sterling example of how a company should operate online. In other words, the same company that talks online about chinchillas losing their cool also somehow managed to smoothly shut down controversy about their brand being used to dehumanize people fleeing an active warzone. Say what you want about the controversy, this just shows that Skittles has some amazing people working for its PR department.

5. A pack of Skittles somehow contains a decent percentage of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin C

Moving away from politics and Donald Trump, which we’re sure has already got some people arguing in the comments, let’s discuss the fact that Skittles are one of the only a handful of candies that could technically be part of a balanced diet.

This is because unlike most every other kind of candy that have less health benefits than the wrapper they’re packaged in, a small bag of Skittles supposedly contains about 50% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C for an 8 year old (which is about 49% more than we assumed when we started researching this), and 25% for an adult. This means that unlike, well, any other candy, there’s a quantifiable benefit to eating Skittles rather than, say, M&M’S or Jolly Ranchers, which have no real nutritional value. While we’re not saying that you should shovel these things into your mouth by the handful, it’s quite nice to know that at the very least, you’re getting something from them to make you feel ever so slightly less guilty.

4. If you leave them in water the trademark S will mysteriously float off

One of the last things Mars does before they send off Skittles to be bought and consumed by the public is add the little S you can find on every candy. This little S is written using a non-water soluble ink that is attached using an apparently delicious kind of edible glue we’re annoyed you can’t buy in stores.

When you submerge Skittles inside any kind of liquid, this S will magically float off and rise to the surface and sit there, waiting for you to either drink it or try to pull it out using your fingers, only to watch it do that annoying thing where it moves just out of the way every single time you pinch your digits together. There’s no real reason to do this, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re ever at a party, have a few on hand, and want to make someone think their drink is being haunted by an angry snake. And you always know it’s going to work because…

3. They destroy any Skittle that doesn’t have an S on it

Like any brand, Skittles are subjected to strict quality control measures that see them being checked against perfect examples of the candy we assume are kept in a comically well guarded vault. Since so many millions of Skittles are produced every single day, people in charge of quality control simply check one Skittle out of every so many thousand produced, and if it doesn’t look right, all of them will be destroyed.  

Since there’s not exactly many things that can really go wrong with producing a small, spherical candy with an S on it, that’s really the only thing they check for. In other words, Mars will happily destroy thousands of perfectly edible Skittles just because they don’t have that thing on it nobody really cares about. For anyone curious about what happens to these imperfect Skittles, the company crushes them and sells them as animal feed, meaning somewhere out there is a cow that eats nothing but Skittles all day. And now, we’re jealous of that cow, even if it does have to eat those awful yellow ones. Speaking of which…

2. There are always more yellow Skittles in a bag, for some reason

Millions of Skittles are made every day in roughly equal amounts, which are then sorted into the bags you can buy in stores. However, if you’ve ever actually opened up a bag and counted how many of each color are in there, you may notice that there are way more yellow ones.

Nobody is really quite sure why this is the case and Skittles won’t answer our emails, but if you take a look at videos of the candy being made you’ll notice that for some reason, yellow Skittles seem to end up in the same vats as other colors. Exactly why this happens isn’t clear but a theory is that since yellow is the cheapest color to produce, it’s the one made in the highest quantities. The theory continues that the plentiful yellow Skittles are then accidentally sorted along with other colors, explaining why you always seem to find more of them. Again, we have no idea if this is true but it’s for sure a better explanation than Skittles just like messing with us.

1. There’s a terrible film where they tried to be the next Reese’s Pieces

There’s a scene in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial where the eponymous E.T. is lured out of a closet by a trail of Reese’s Pieces. This scene is noted as being one of the singular most successful cases of product placement ever, resulting in a sales increase of nearly 300% for Reese’s Pieces. As it turns out, Mars were originally offered that lucrative deal for M&M’S, but turned it down.

Not wanting to pass up this kind of chance twice, Mars jumped at the chance to have Skittles appear in an almost identical movie called Mac and Me. If you’ve never seen it, Mac and Me is often referred to as one of the worst movies ever made, mostly because it’s an unapologetic cash grab full of shameless product placement for Skittles, Coke, and McDonald’s. As an example of how utterly flagrant this film is in promoting the brands, it features: a break-dancing scene set entirely inside a McDonald’s; Coke as the only thing the aliens in the film will drink; and a character who wears a McDonald’s uniform in every scene they appear in. Unsurprisingly, Skittles didn’t suddenly notice a 300% boost in sales after the movie was released because nobody went and saw this movie. In fact, we’ll bet more people have seen that clip where a kid in a wheelchair falls off a cliff. Particularly since Paul Rudd shows it literally every time he ever appears on Conan O’Brien’s show.


A Little Skittle-butt

– WIF I Candy

Coca-Cola Confidential

Leave a comment

5 Dark Secrets

About Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 by a pharmacist named Dr. John Stith Pemberton, who was also a Civil War vet and morphine addict. Coke is based on a drink called Vin Marine, which was brewed by Parisian chemist Angelo Mariani. Today, Coca-Cola is the most popular soft drink in the world. These are its five darkest secrets.

 5. Actively Worked To Make Sure Kids Drank Coca-Cola Instead of Healthy Choices

In the 1990s, many soft drink companies were trying to attract consumers in a very saturated market. Coca-Cola’s plan was to go after high school students and hopefully get them to choose their brand for life, which is pretty much the same way that tobacco companies used to lure customers.

In the mid-1990s, Coca-Cola started to sign “pouring contracts” with schools. In exchange for premiums that were paid to the schools, Coca-Cola wanted exclusive rights to sell their products in vending machines and in the cafeteria. The schools, who often worked with tight budgets, usually agreed to do it. In some cases, Coca-Cola gave many schools around $30,000 up front and then a commission for the exclusive rights to sell Coke products in their schools for 10 years. In one case, Coca-Cola gave $90,000 to a school in Syracuse, New York, to build a stadium that had a big Coca-Cola sign on it.

While that may not seem super sinister, where it gets into the shady territory is that schools were then encouraged to sell Coke and given bonuses if they sold more product. They were also told that they would make less money if they sold healthier options, like milk or fruit juices, instead of soft drinks. In some cases, healthier options weren’t available at all because Coca-Cola didn’t approve them to be sold in the schools.

Now, 20 years later, there is an obesity epidemic in America. Of course, Coca-Cola has contributed to this problem and they have even acknowledged this in their own reports. For the past 10 years, the single biggest threat to Coca’s Cola profit has been obesity.

4. Their Water Problems

While the recipe for Coca-Cola is a closely guarded secret, one main ingredient that they need to produce the sugary drink is water. It takes 0.71 gallons of water to make 0.26 gallons of Coca-Cola. This becomes a major headache when Coca-Cola decides to set up bottling factories in places that don’t have a lot of water to begin with. Examples of where this has happened are in several states in India, and several places in Latin America.

What happens is that Coca-Cola sets up a bottling plant, they use up too much ground water. That causes water shortages in the area, which means there isn’t enough water to drink or to irrigate crops, which then leads to food shortages. After a decade of protesting, one plant in India was shut down in 2015, but Coca-Cola plants using up too much local water is still a problem in India, Latin America, and in developing countries around the world.

3. Coca-Cola No Longer Contains Cocaine (For a Pretty Racist Reason)

One of the most famous rumors about Coca-Cola is that the original recipe used cocaine… and it’s totally true. They used coca leaves which contained the cocaine alkaloid, which is used to make powdered cocaine.

 It’s tough to say exactly how much cocaine the original drink contained, but there was a little bit in it. Also, the original Coca-Cola was alcoholic as well. However, in 1886, Atlanta (where Coke was bottled) enacted prohibition. So the alcohol was removed and more sugar was added, but the cocaine remained an ingredient in the drink for the next decade.

In 1899, Coca-Cola started selling their drinks in bottles. The bottles were popular among African-Americans because they didn’t have access to fountain pop due to segregation laws. However, this started a panic among some white middle and upper class people. Some very vocal members of those communities were terrified that black people who were empowered by a cocaine drink might start attacking them, and they wouldn’t be able to stop them. In response to the fears, Coca-Cola started to phase out cocaine from the recipe in 1903, and replaced it with caffeine and even more sugar.

2. Coca-Cola and The Colombian Unions

On December 5, 1986, a right-wing paramilitary unit showed up at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Carepa, Colombia. One of the plant’s union executives, Isidro Segundo Gil, went to ask what the squad wanted and they opened fire on him, killing him. Later that night, the paramilitary group went to the union’s headquarters, where they destroyed their equipment and then burned the place to destroy all the records inside.

The next day, the paramilitary went into the bottling plant and gave the union workers a choice: quit, or die like Gil. Obviously, many of the employees, who were earning $380 to $400 a month, quit their jobs. After they quit, the paramilitary shacked up in the bottling plant for two months. When the plant reopened, the union workers were replaced with workers who were paid $130 a month.

While there is no conclusive evidence that anyone from Coca-Cola’s main office ordered any of the murders, critics point out that Coca-Cola did very little to investigate the murders. In fact, they didn’t complain to the Colombian government that the paramilitary killed their workers or that they were squatting in their facility for two months.

Also, at the time of the assassination, the union workers were trying to negotiate better working conditions with the bottling company Bebidas y Alimentos, which was contracted by Coca-Cola to bottle their product in South America. In the years after the murder, Bebidas has refused to negotiate anything with their workers.

Finally, this wasn’t the only Coca-Cola union to be targeted. At least five other union members working with Coca-Cola were killed in Colombia and the union members were told to quit or die themselves.

In 2001, the Sinaltrainal union brought a lawsuit against Bebidas and Coca-Cola, but the motion against Coca-Cola was dismissed in 2003.

1. Coca-Cola and Peruvian Farmers

As we’ve mentioned, the original Coca-Cola formula contained a small amount of cocaine. When they changed the formula, they had a company called Maywood Chemical Works, which is now the Stepan Company, import coca leaves into the United States from Peru.

Once in the United States, Stepan, who still imports the coca leaves for Coca-Cola, removes the alkaloid that is the key component in powdered cocaine and then they send Coca-Cola the decocainized coca leaf extract. As for what Stepan does with the cocaine alkaloid? Well, they sell it under government supervision for medical use.

For over a century, when drug laws were enacted like the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 and the Jones-Miller Act of 1922, they made special exemptions to allow Coca-Cola to keep importing coca plants; making them one of the few American companies that were allowed to import the coca plant. As time went on, Coca-Cola’s popularity increased and Stepan couldn’t sell all the cocaine alkaloid it extracted. This led to special legislation being passed so that Stepan could destroy the excess cocaine alkaloid under government supervision.

 The problem is that coca leaves can be used to make many other products besides Coca-Cola and cocaine like tea, candies, and flour, but the coca farmers in Peru, called cocaleros, can only access the American market through Coca-Cola because of the drug laws that were enacted to stop cocaine from getting into America. With only one purchaser of their product, the cocaleros can do little more than accept Coca-Cola’s terms. As a result, the farmers stay poor, while Coca-Cola made $41 billion in 2016.

Coca-Cola

Confidential

The $15 Minimum Wage – WIF Speculation

3 Comments

Image result for 15 dollar minimum wage

What Would Happen if

Minimum Wage Went to

$15 Everywhere

Be Careful What You Wish For

Well, we decided to look into what might happen if the minimum wage was raised to $15 across the world. The results were… intriguing, to say the least. While realistically, the idea of a global $15 minimum wage is as likely as flying pigs farting unicorn rainbows, it’s still interesting to imagine what the outcome would be. The answer is: insanity.

10. The Rise of the Machines

mcdonalds

Forget Terminator. Forget The Matrix. The real cause of the machine revolution lies not in military programs, but in the battle for a higher minimum wage. According to The Economist, there’s only one likely outcome to a yuge minimum wage hike: mass automation.

 Right now, machines and computers are capable of doing a heck of a lot that low-skilled humans can, such as driving trucks and manning checkouts. The reason that they don’t isn’t due to some fancy-pants robot-workers’ union, but because they simply cost too much. It’s way more cost-effective for an employer to keep you working at the checkout for $7.50 an hour than it is for them to buy a machine to do your job, so they don’t.

But when that $15 wage hike comes in, suddenly the robots are looking a lot more attractive. The outcome? Jobs will disappear faster than you can say “Skynet.”

Nationally, millions would be out of work. Globally, billions. That would mean completely restructuring our economies to deal with permanent mass-unemployment; a shift which wouldn’t come easy.

9. The Poor Would Still be Poor

empty-wallet

It’s important to note that robots still suck at certain jobs. Cleaning, for example, is better being done by humans. Mass-automation wouldn’t really affect such sectors. So that means a minimum wage hike would still lift some out of poverty, right?

 Sure. But far, far fewer than you’d think.

Most supporters of the $15 minimum want to reduce poverty. But the minimum wage rarely affects those who are truly poor. Only 12.7% of US minimum wage workers come from poor households. Just under half are secondary-income earners from households with earnings three times higher than the poverty line. In other words, they’re teenagers starting their first job, or parents who took time out for raising kids and now want a bit of part-time work to fill the empty hours.

The result would be a boost to these people’s finances, for sure. But the vast majority of American poor either already make $15 but don’t get enough hours, or simply don’t work at all. A mass-applied $15 minimum wouldn’t affect this cohort one bit.

8. Mass Migration

migration

In the 1980s, well-meaning legislators accidentally screwed-over Puerto Rico. As a US Territory, the island became subject to the US Minimum Wage. Hooray for Puerto Rico, huh? Not so fast. The knock-on effect of this wage increase was to drive a huge chunk of the island’s residents to migrate to mainland USA.

 This sounds counter-intuitive, but it makes perfect sense. Puerto Rico is poor. There was simply no way employers could afford the mainland minimum wage. With automation in 1983 being a pipedream, they simply laid off workers and sent unemployment skyrocketing.

Something similar would happen with a global minimum wage. Rich cities and countries that could afford the $15 hit would suddenly become Meccas for those from poor areas which couldn’t afford it. The jobless poor would flood in from territories and rural areas that couldn’t pay, leading to perhaps the greatest wave of human migration in history. And as we all know, mass-migration doesn’t always go completely smoothly…

7. Rampant Xenophobia

xenophobia

During the Great Depression, hundreds of thousands of Americans were forced to leave Dustbowl States to look for work. Oklahoma alone lost nearly half a million of its population to more-prosperous states like California. How did the residents of richer states react to this sudden influx of poor, depressed and unemployed people? They freakin’ hated their guts.

Okies were the subject of extreme discrimination from locals who thought they were stealing jobs, bringing crime, undercutting wages and just generally stinking up Sunny California with their Okie ways. Never mind that most of the Okies were family folk who just wanted to do some honest work and contribute to California, they were still hugely unpopular.

It’s not hard to imagine something similar happening if a $15 minimum wage drove people from poor, rural areas into rich, urban ones. On a national scale, it would be uncomfortable. If it was global, then throw in racism and culture clash and you’re potentially sitting on a powder keg.

6. Poor Countries Would Become Poorer

sweatshop

Everyone reading this can probably agree that paying Bangladeshi workers $0.50 per hour to toil in a sweatshop is morally ugly. Unfortunately, it’s also the way the world works.

Poor countries like Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Haiti are chronically in need of investment. To ensure companies want to set up shop there, they have to offer something the West can’t. Sadly, that ‘something’ is extremely low-wage employees. Create a world where everyone from a trucker in Arizona to a garment-maker in Dhaka is worth $15 an hour, and you destroy the only competitive advantage these countries have.

For a company in the US, it suddenly makes no sense at all for them to set up a factory in Asia when it costs the same as setting one up in America. So they won’t. Unless poor countries sacrifice something else in return for investment, that investment will simply dry up. Bangladeshi jobs will vanish, money will disappear, and poor countries will get even poorer.

5. The End of Outsourcing

outsource

On the other hand, this would mean the end of outsourcing; a practice generally considered to be so mercenary it probably counts as one of the 7 Deadly Sins. While this is extremely bad news for those living in poorer countries, it could be pretty good for those living elsewhere.

Right now, a lot of jobs that used to be done by Americans are being done abroad for a fraction of the cost. Take away those cost incentives to move abroad, and those jobs will probably stay in America (provided the government did other stuff like cut corporation tax). For those industries that can’t be automated, it could result in a glut of work available at home. It would be the same thing both Trump and Bernie Sanders like to talk about: American jobs for American workers.

The downside is there are other ways countries could attract multinationals even with a global $15 minimum wage, such as low corporation tax, an unregulated market or removing certain labor restrictions. In practice, then, a global minimum wage of $15 might not end outsourcing. Instead it might trigger a race to the bottom in an entirely different area.

4. A Gigantic Small Business Crash

closed

There’s a reason campaigns like Fight for $15 stir so much moral fury. The idea that a multi-billion-dollar empire like Walmart can get away with paying its employees $7.20 per hour makes any reasonable person’s blood boil.

The reality is that plenty of minimum wage employees aren’t slaving away in Walmart. They’re working for small businesses. And asking those small businesses to double their employees’ wages is like asking them to start handing out blocks of gold to all of their customers.

 Around a third of minimum wage employees are working at businesses that employfewer than 50 people. Force a $15 minimum on these places, and they’re gonna go under or lay off staff or (more likely) both. That means a collapse of small businesses across the board, something that’s not exactly thrilling for stuff like innovation, the economy, or just having a few more choices of coffee place beyond Starbucks.

Most of us value small businesses and independent Mom-and-Pop stores. We also value the idea of workers being paid a good minimum wage. Sadly, these two things can often be mutually-exclusive.

3. The Rise of Freelance Contract Work

freelance

One of the big flaws with the minimum wage is that there are quite a few ways around it. Most of you reading this probably work in an industry that utilizes one or more of them. For example, your place might take on unpaid interns over summer. Or maybe those looking for a promotion can take part in a scheme that temporarily increases their responsibilities while not affecting their pay scale.

 In many industries, the ‘get around’ comes from freelance contract work. This is especially prevalent in the world of online writing which – surprise! – we happen to know a great deal about. The basic set-up is that the website will pay you per article, not per hour worked. If you’re a dashingly-handsome internet-writer with chiselled abs this isn’t a problem, as you’re capable of writing a $15 article in way under an hour. But for someone without those skills or looks… well, then you got a problem.

In a world where the $15 is everywhere, plenty of companies are gonna avail themselves of freelance contracts. This means people who aren’t suited to them languishing away, taking hours and hours and hours to complete a task which will net them only paltry sums. So how about we get rid of these contracts altogether? Well, then you’re stuck with plenty of businesses going bust… and all those same workers now making nothing at all.

2. An Explosion of Spending

shopping

By now, we suspect some Fight for $15 fans are more than a little upset with the direction this article has taken. Hey, thems the breaks. We just go where our research leads us. And for this entry, it has led us to a potential light at the end of this dark and mold-infested tunnel. There’s a chance a $15 minimum could spark an economy-reviving spending spree.

This comes courtesy of Bloomberg, an outfit not exactly known for its leftish politics. The argument is pretty straightforward. A capitalist economy relies upon workers using their wages to buy stuff they want but don’t really need. This is the engine that drives growth. Whisk away that extra part of their paycheck marked ‘conspicuous consumption’ and the economy falters. Conversely, inflate that part wildly with a $15 minimum wage, and sit back and watch as the economy goes into overdrive.

The theory is that people who earn the extra money would spend and spend like lunatics. Goods would be flying off shelves. Vacations would be booked en masse. Services would be purchased, money would go flying through the economy, and everyone would wind up being a winner. It could be a boom to rival the 2008 bust, the sort of massive boost we haven’t seen in ages.

 1. Everything or Nothing

15

At the end of all that, we have a confession to make. We don’t know what would happen if the minimum wage went to $15 everywhere. That’s not us being uninformed: literally no-one knows.

While there have been plenty of studies done on minimum wage hikes, there has never been one done on a hike as enormous as the $15 one would be. It simply hasn’t happened before over a large enough area, or in enough places, for anyone to draw any firm conclusions. As a result, it’s easy to find respected economics writers claiming that a national $15 minimum would be the best thing ever; just as it’s easy to find respected writers claiming that such a hike would trigger the apocalypse.

What we’ve done above is drawn on what a plurality of economists seem to think, and what theories seem to suggest, to try and draw conclusions. The reality is, no-one knows for sure what would happen applying the $15 minimum on a national scale, let alone an international one. The only certainty is that the effect would be enormous, and possibly world-changing. Whether for the better or the worse is something we’d simply have to wait to find out.


The $15 Minimum Wage

wif-speculation-001

– WIF Speculation

Benchmark Companies – WIF Business

Leave a comment

WIF History-001

10 Oldest Businesses

Still in Operation Today

Starting a business is hard enough, but making one thrive and survive, even for a short time, is sometimes nothing less than a miracle. Amazingly, the businesses on this list managed to overcome the odds; many of them have survived for centuries, and all of them are, quite astonishingly, still operating.

Note: These are not the 10 oldest businesses overall, but the oldest companies still in operation in 10 different types of businesses.

10. Video Game Company

nintendo cards

Nintendo – Japan
Est: 1889

You’re probably thinking that this entry is a mistake, because there is no waythat Nintendo was making video games over 125 years ago…which is completely true. The roots of video games started to form in the 1950s. But what’s interesting about the Nintendo Company is that it was founded on September 23, 1889, by Japanese entrepreneur Fusajiro Yamauchi. The first products that the “Nintendo Koppai” made were hand drawn playing cards, called Hanafuda Cards, which were similar to the common 52-card decks, and could be used to play different games. In 1959, Fusajiro Yamauchi’s grandson, Hiroshi Yamauchi, was running the company and made a deal with Disney to print their characters on Nintendo cards. This increased business, and Nintendo went public in 1962.

With investor money, Nintendo took on a bunch of different projects, such as a taxi company, an instant rice company, remote controlled vacuum cleaners, toy making, and “a short stay” hotel chain, which is essentially exactly what it sounds like. Most of the ventures were failures, and Nintendo was facing other problems; the playing card business had been saturated, and they drowning in debt. Luckily for Nintendo, and millions of gamers, one of their ventures helped turned the company around: toy-making.

In 1970, Hiroshi was touring one of Nintendo’s factories and saw an engineer, Gunpei Yokoi, playing with an extending arm that he created. Hiroshi decided to launch the extending arm as an official product called the “Ultra Hand,” and it became a best seller. This changed Nintendo’s direction again, and they began making electronic toys, including a Love Tester.

It was during this time that video games and arcades were gaining some traction, and in 1975 Nintendo released its first video arcade game, EVR Race,which was followed by one of the biggest video games of all time, Donkey Kong. In 1983, they released their own platform, called the Famicom (short for Family Computer) in Japan. Shortly after they released Famicon, the video game market crashed. Nintendo managed to survive the crash, and in 1985 the company released the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America. The rest, as they say, is history.

9. Musical Instrument Manufacturer

zildjian

Avedis Zildjian Company – Turkey
Est. 1623

The most famous cymbal company in the world got its start in 1618 in Constantinople, which is modern day Istanbul, Turkey, when an Armenian alchemist named Avedis tried to make gold using tin, copper, and silver. What he ended up with was an alloy that didn’t break when it was struck; instead, it made a loud crashing noise. The alloy quickly became popular and was used by the Ottoman military band as a tactic to frighten the enemy.

In 1623, Sultan Osman II gave Avedis the family name “Zildjian,” which means “son of cymbal maker.” The family continued to make cymbals in Constantinople until 1929, when Avedis III moved the company to Massachusetts, where it is still in operation today. Currently, the company is run by the 14th generation of the family and they remain the dominant cymbal maker in the world, having 65 percent of the market.

One of the big reasons for Zildjian’s success is the secret alloy formula that was developed by Avedis. Only a handful of people throughout its 400 year history have known what mixture of elements makes Zildjian’s unique sound.

8. Pharmacy

pharmacy

Santa Maria Novella – Italy
Est. 1612

The Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy, is the oldest known pharmacy in the world. It started off life as a Dominican monastery in 1221. The friars grew medicinal herbs (quit snickering, you bunch of stoners) in their gardens, and it was used to treat patients in their infirmary. The friars, who had taken a vow of poverty, didn’t open it up to the public until 400 years later in 1612, after word had spread about their balms, ointments, and washes.

Today, the pharmacy still sells many of the concoctions and remedies that it has brewed and sold throughout its 400 year (plus) history, along with modern skin care products and ointments.

7. Amusement Park

Bakken – Denmark
Est. 1583

Bakken, the oldest amusement park that is still in operation, first opened to the public in 1583 in Klampenborg, which is just north of Copenhagen, Denmark. Of course, what people find amusing has changed over the years, and 430 years ago they didn’t exactly have the rides that we are familiar with today. Instead, the park consisted of pleasure gardens. In the gardens, there would be dancing, fireworks, and even some primitive rides.

At the time, plenty of cities throughout Europe had similar amusement parks, but many closed in the 1700s. Bakken carried on and evolved throughout the centuries. In 1923, they constructed a wooden roller coaster, and they continued to add modern rides in the following years. The park is still in operation today and admission is free.

6. Printing and Publishing House

Cambridge University Press – England
Est. 1584

London’s Cambridge University was first granted a Letters Patent, which is similar to a royal charter, by King Henry the VIII in 1534. This allowed the university to print “all manner of books.” However, due to politics and censors, the university wouldn’t publish its first book until fifty years later. Their first book was Two Treatises of the Lord His Holie Supper, and it was printed by Cambridge’s first printer, Thomas Thomas. Yes, that was his actual name. No, we can’t confirm whether or not his parents did, in fact, hate him.

Since that first book was printed just over 480 years ago, the Cambridge University Press has published a book every single year. This includes works by some of the greatest minds in human history, like John Milton, Isaac Newton, D.H. Lawrence, Noam Chomsky, and Stephen Hawking.

5. Bank

bank

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena – Italy
Est. 1472

The basics of banking, such as lending money, started around 2000 B.C. and it was advanced in Ancient Greece and during the time of the Roman Empire, when bankers would take deposits and exchanged money. In the Middle Ages, in what is modern day Italy, banking evolved even more. One of the banks that helped with that evolution was Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which is located in Siena. Obviously. The bank was founded in 1472, when Siena was still an independent state.

After the Kingdom of Italy was established in 1861, the bank spread to become the third largest bank in Italy. They managed to survive wars between city states, two World Wars, fascism, and they even made it through the 2012 European financial crisis due to a bailout, but in early 2016 they were again inserious financial trouble.

4. Brewery

brewery

Weihenstephan – Germany
Est. 1040

A lot of beer companies brag about their long brewing traditions, but not many breweries are anywhere close to being as old as the Weihenstephanbrewery, which is just north of Munich, Germany. The brewery is located in the Weihenstephan Abbey, which was a Benedictine monastery that was established in 725 by Saint Corbinian. In 1040, Abbot Arnold got a license to brew beer and Weihenstephan officially became a brewery.

It wasn’t an easy near-millennium for the brewery. Between 1085 and 1463, the monastery faced a number of tragedies. It burned down four times, endured three plagues, multiple famines, and a massive earthquake. Yet, it survived under the friar’s control until 1803, when the monastery was dissolved because Germany secularized. However, the state kept the brewery going and the beer is still sold to this day in dozens of countries around the world.

3. Bar

bar

Sean’s Bar – Ireland
Est. 900

Before we get into this entry, we feel we should clear the air a bit. We really don’t want to stereotype here, but is anyone truly surprised that the oldest bar in the world is located in Ireland? Well, it’s true. Sean’s Bar, which is located on the west bank of the River Shannon in Athlone, is believed to have been continuously in operation since 900 , and supposedly, there is a record of every owner since it opened. Amazingly, this includes singer Boy George, who briefly owned the bar in 1987. Further proof of the bar’s age was found during a renovation in the 1970s, when workers found a piece of original wall that is made of wattle and wicker. The wall was excavated, and it’s on display in a glass case at the bar.

Sean’s Bar was originally opened as an inn by Luain over 1,110 years ago, and that is where Athlone gets its name from. In Irish, Athlone means Atha Luain, which translates to the “Ford of Luain.” Luain designed the inn with tilted floors so that when it rains, the water runs through the bar and out to the river. This tilted floor is also great for messing with visitors to the bar who have had one or three or six too many. And those visitors have included U2, star athletes, and plenty of American tourists. The boom in American tourism started in the 1980s, after Dallas stars Larry Hagman and Linda Gray became frequent visitors to the bar and expressed their love for it.

2. Restaurant

restaurant

Stiftskeller St. Peter – Austria
Est. ~806

The restaurant business is notoriously hard. On average, almost 60 percent fail within the first year. It is even more difficult to get to the five year mark. That means having one run continuously for decades is impressive, let alone centuries, but Stiftskeller St. Peter in Salzburg, Austria has been open for a mind-boggling 1,210 years.

The restaurant is part of the original building of St Peter’s Abbey, which is a Benedictine monastery. The earliest reference to the restaurant is found in the 806 writings of Alcuin, who was a follower of Charlemagne. Since then, Stiftskeller has supposedly been continuously open and many dignitaries and celebrities have visited, including Bill Clinton, Clint Eastwood, and Karl Lagerfeld.

Stiftskeller serves traditional Austrian food and once a week, they host a dinner where musicians perform Mozart in traditional period costumes.

1. Hotel

hotel

Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan – Japan
Est. 705

In the South Japanese Alps (yes, Japan has its own Alps, in case you didn’t know that and were confused) in the Hayakawa, Yamanashi Prefecture, you’ll find the oldest hotel in the world, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan. The hotel was founded by Fujiwara Mahito in the second year of the Keiun era (which is where the hotel gets its name), which is 705 in the Roman calendar.

Since its opening, the hotel (which is known for its hot springs) has been owned and operated by 52 generations of descendants from the original owner, although a few were adopted in. The hotel, which is close to Mount Fiji, will run you at least $475 to $570 USD per night.

If you’re wondering what the key to their 1,300 years of success is, Fortunespeculates that, based on the hotel’s strong reviews, it is their impeccable service.

Also, at 1,300 years old, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is not only the oldest hotel in the world, but it is also thought to be the oldest business in operationtoday. Just to give you some idea as to how old it is, it is 225 years older than the Kingdom of Britain.


Benchmark Companies

– WIF Business

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #323

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #323

…On one hand, A.O. wanted to give Maggie the world, yet when it comes to revenue streams, his compassionate heart would trump his family’s bottom-line needs…

A Lonely Path by Dan Crystalis

A Lonely Path by Dan Crystalis

A single solitary figure sits huddled against the back corner of a room; whose corners are all too near to one another. The pungent light of a dwindling candle wavers forth and back, barely illuminating the tattered pages of an obviously well read black book. Once surgically skilled hands, thumb painfully, yet knowingly to the Gospel of Saint Matthew Chapter 5 verse 4:

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted”, thus saith the Lord our God, by the way of Alpha Omega Campbell, good and faithful servant. He goes to his knees to pray for the health of his dearest Maggie Lou. She has not taken her husband’s arrest very well. No other than he, has she depended on for the last 37 years of her life. What will come of her if she loses him to prison?

Unfortunately, it is partially due to her cozy lifestyle that her husband is sitting on a cold steel bench. Over the years, many of which were prosperous, Maggie Lou Campbell had become accustomed to:

  • The house maidImage result for household servants
  • Chef
  • Chauffeur
  • Gardener
  • Tailor

And whatever else she wanted within reason.

For his part, Alpha Campbell had lost perspective, as it relates to finances. On one hand, he wanted to give Maggie the world, yet when it comes to revenue streams, his compassionate heart would trump his family’s bottom-line needs. Yes, that sweet potato pie is wonderful, but the Lewis State Bank would prefer cash.

Equally unfortunate is the fact that the folks with cash in hand are those who are most desperate. Those that have not… ‘Doc Campbell, please help my baby, he won’t stop crying and I have tried everythin’ I know.’ Or, ‘If you could get this bunion off my foot, I would be so grateful.’ And lastly (badly), ‘Our doctor Image result for dollar sign gifsent us here. He said you will keep our affairs private. My baby girl is too young to have her own baby… what will people say.’ These have the dough.

  Two hundred dollars ($200) in the 1950’s is a goodly amount of money, just as the three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) is more than substantive for a private hospital. $10 soothes a colicky baby, $65 dollars pays for the surgical removal of that painful bunion, but 200 big ones will get you an abortion.

Before modern day pictures (sonograms) of a moving, womb-bound neonates, who may dissuade the mother from aborting, instead, no baby — problem solved. Maybe now Auntie Margaret will stop asking about that recent weight gain.

Perhaps most debilitating for the Campbells, is the fact that the white folks of Tallahassee are not permitted to be treated at Laura Bell Memorial Hospital; no white floor or wing for fair skinned Floridians, even if they wanted to be treated there.

          Stop and reflect upon the last paragraph.

braceT LFT  Black Tallahassee is minimally educated, mostly poor, but white Tallahassee is a university town, capitol to the state and very much in need of affordable healthcare.

 

Whites are remarkably discouraged from stepping foot into LBMH. City fathers have even diminished it by calling it ‘Campbell Clinic’, a.k.a. not worthy.


Alpha Omega M.D.

atari-pitfall-001

Episode #323


page 305

Click and Read

Click and Read

You are here

Contents 5-2016

Soda Pop Backstory – WIF Consumer Corner

Leave a comment

wif-consumer-corner-001

Origin Stories of

Famous Soft Drinks

 Whether you call it soda, pop, or soda pop, carbonated water with lots of sugar in it has been a staple of the beverage world since about 1867. That’s when it was first sold at druggists and pharmacists across America. At first, it was thought to have remedial effects. But of course, in the new millennium, they are actually having a really negative effect on the health of millions of people.

Nevertheless, soft drinks are still some of the most consumed liquids in the world. This is how 10 of the biggest soft drinks got their start.

10. Mountain Dew

mountaindew

We thought we’d start off this list with one of the most unhealthy soft drinks on the market, and that is the one and only Mountain Dew. Often associated with EXTREME sports like the X-Games, it’s the third most popular soft drink in the world. In 2014, the bright neon yellow drink that is chock full of sugar and caffeine was responsible for a hefty chunk of the $125 billion non-alcoholic beverage market. One interesting thing that we want to add is that you may not like Mountain Dew yourself, but you probably know someone who drinks gallons of it a week. Well, it turns out that about 20% of drinkers are responsible for 70% of their sales.

 Mountain Dew has rather humble beginnings. It was invented by some hillbillies living in the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee who were looking for something to chase down their homemade whiskey. In 1948, brothers Barney and Ally Hartman, who ran a bottling company in Knoxville, Tennessee, started bottling the recipe, calling it Mountain Dew. That was slang for moonshine, and they sold it in a green bottle. The drink didn’t sell well while the brothers were owners, so they sold it to another bottling company, who in turn were acquired by PepsiCo in 1964. Since then, it has grown to the international brand we know today and a favorite of teenage boys throughout the world.

9. Red Bull

red-bull

Many people will be quick to point out that Red Bull is an energy drink, which it is. But, it’s still carbonated sugar water, so that makes it a soft drink. So welcome to the list, Red Bull!

The company was co-founded by an Austrian man named Dietrich Mateschitz. Mateschitz, who earned a degree in marketing, worked for Unilever, Jacob’s Coffee, and Blendax as a marketer. Due to his work, he travelled around a lot and one of his trips led him to Thailand. While there, he drank what was being hailed as a cure for jetlag. And thanks to the amount of caffeine and taurine in it, the syrupy tonic drink did cure his jetlag.

The drink was already popular across Asia and Mateschitz saw the potential. He met with the brewer, Chaleo Yoovidhya, and they made a deal where they would each receive 48% of the company for $500,000 (Yoovidhya’s son owned the other 2%). Over the next severeal years, Mateschitz tinkered with the project. He changed the recipe to appeal more to people in the West, and he carbonated it. He also designed the now recognizable blue and silver can, and a friend gave him their famous slogan: “Red Bull gives you wings.”

 With the drink ready for production in 1987, Mateschitz used his years of marketing experience to push the energy drink, the first of its kind. Of course, Red Bull has grown since those early days and both owners became multi-billionaires. According to Forbes, Red Bull is worth $7.7 billion.

8. Hires Root Beer

hires

Drinks made from roots have been around for centuries, so it wasn’t a new invention when Charles Hires tried root tea while on his honeymoon in New Jersey in the second half of the 19th century. He loved the root tea and when he returned home, the young pharmacy owner set to work making his own. His first concoction was called Hires Root Tea. At first, he sold it as packets of dry extracts of Sarsaparilla, Ginger, Sassafras, and Hops, and it was blended with roots, barks, and berries. People would then take it home, add sugar and yeast and let it ferment, then they bottle it themselves.

At first, it didn’t sell well. To boost sales, Hires changed the name to Hires Root Beer for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. He thought the beer label would appeal to men. The name change worked and Hires Root Beer grew in popularity. It was during this time that Hires tried to trademark the name “root beer,” but was denied because it was too generic.

In 1880, Hires made the root beer into a liquid extract. By 1892, they were selling three million bottles of extract a year. The liquid extract was available all the way into the 1920s before it was discontinued. A bottle with a finished product was introduced in 1893 and it has been on sale ever since. However the recipe has changed. It is now carbonated, and has more sugar.

 At 140 years old, Hires is the oldest soft drink brand that is still sold today.

7. Barq’s Root Beer

barqs

The convoluted history of Barq’s Root Beer started in 1890, when chemist Edward Charles Edmond Barq Sr. opened Barq Brothers Bottling Co. in the French Quarter of New Orleans. In 1897, he moved to Biloxi, Mississippi, and opened the Biloxi Artesian Bottling Works in 1899. Two years later, he started selling a drink he called Barq’s, which was a sarsaparilla-based libation.

Where the story gets a little bit more complicated is that Barq had an affair, which resulted in a child named Jasper “Jesse” Louis Robinson. Robinson lived with the Barqs, which we’re sure wasn’t awkward at all, and as an adult, at his father’s urging, Robinson opened his own bottling plant in New Orleans where he sold Barq’s. The father and son had a deal where Robinson could sell anywhere in Louisiana, except Washington Parish, and Barq would have Mississippi.

Throughout the years, the two companies ran completely separate from each other and each used their own processes for making root beer. By 1937, Barq had passed away and there were 62 franchises bottling root beer from Robinson’s leg of the business. At the time of Robinson’s death in 1949, there were close to 200 bottling franchises spread throughout the country. Robinson left half the company to his wife, and then the other half was split between his three children. His wife then named their son Jesse Robinson Jr. as the president of the Company.

In 1971, Jesse was ousted as president, and upon leaving that position, he sold his inheritance he would get when his mother died to his two sisters. After Jesse left, the two Barq’s bottling companies merged and in 1991 they were purchased by the Coca-Cola company for $91 million.

However, that wasn’t the end of it for the second Jesse Robinson. In 2010, his childrensued Coca-Cola for one-third of Barq’s profits contending that, in Louisiana, you cannot sell your inheritance. Coca-Cola said the suit had no merit and the result of the suit could not be found.

6. Canada Dry

canadadry

The creator of Canada Dry Ginger Ale, John James McLaughlin, was born in Enniskillen, Ontario, on March 2, 1865. He studied pharmacy at school and in 1885, set up a small carbonating bottling plant in Toronto. There, he developed mixes and carbonated water. One mixture that he made, called McLaughlin’s Belfast Style Ginger Ale, found popularity in the United Kingdom. He decided to develop a similar drink that was dry and sparkling, like champagne. He spent 10 years working on it and in 1904, he had perfected the recipe. A patent was filed on it in 1905 and two years later, he trademarked the name Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale.

McLaughlin died in 1914, just as the company was starting to get off the ground, and his brother took over. Canada Dry was able to set themselves apart because they focused on selling it in ready to drink bottles, which was unusual for soft drinks at the time.

A few things helped make Canada Dry so popular. The first was that since it was ready to drink, it was sold at places like the beach and baseball games. The second was prohibition. When Canada Dry was introduced in the 1920s in the United States, the 18th Amendment prohibiting alcohol was being enforced. Canada Dry became popular in speakeasies because it made illegal Canadian whiskey much smoother and easier to drink.

From there, the company grew and changed hands multiple times. In 1953, they were the first soft drink to come in a can. The Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. owns the company today, and it’s the third most produced soft drink in the world.

5. 7-Up

7up

Originally called Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime (we can’t fathom why they’d ever change that gem of a name), 7-Up was introduced just two weeks before the Stock Market Crash of 1929. The owner of the drink, Charles L. Grigg, worked as a soft drinks advertiser and changed the name to 7-Up shortly after its release. As for why the name change, no one is really sure why Grigg chose the name or what it means. Grigg ultimately took the secret to his grave, so there is a good chance we will never know. But one belief, probably the most logical, is that 7-Up has seven ingredients. Another theory is related to the original 7-Up’s special ingredient, the mood altering drug lithium, which has an atomic mass close to seven. Lithium is a salt that is found in groundwater. It’s used to treat bipolar disorder and depression.

7-Up continued to use lithium in its recipe until 1948, when it was banned by the US Food and Drug Administration. In 1950, the new formula, without the special side effects, was released. The soda maintained its popularity. It was purchased in 1978 by cigarette giant Phillip Morris, and then the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group bought it in 1986 for $240 million.

4. Fanta

fanta

One story you made of heard about Fanta was that it was invented by the Nazis. The good news for those of you who love Fanta, but feel guilty about the Nazi connection, is that the myth isn’t true. That being said, Hitler and the Nazis did influence its creation.

Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Coca-Cola was having amazing success in Germany. They had record sales there, and by 1939, the country was home to 43 bottling plants and more than 600 distributors. The problem was that the atmosphere in Europe was changing. That meant that German Coca-Cola plants were having a hard time getting all the ingredients needed to produce Coca-Cola.

In 1938, Ray Powers, the American-born overseer of Coke’s operations in Germany, died in a car accident. The German government chose Max Keith, Powers’ German-born right hand man, to be his replacement. Keith, who was not associated with the Nazis, got a message to Coca-Cola distributors in Switzerland and told them he would try to keep operations going.

Since Keith couldn’t get all the ingredients, he had to stop selling Coca-Cola because he simply had no way to make it. Instead, he used the Coca-Cola plants to produce Fanta, which was a pale drink made from whatever was available at the time. This included whey, and apple fiber from cider presses. As for where the name came from, Keith told his salesman to use their “Fantasie” (imagination in German) to come up with a name and a veteran salesman blurted out “Fanta.” The drink sold well during the war. In 1943, three million cases were sold.

During the war, Coca-Cola’s head office in Atlanta had no idea if Keith was working for them or the Nazis. When the war came to an end, they found out Keith had kept operations going and protected Coca-Cola’s interests. As a result, Coca-Cola were one of the first companies to restart operations in post-war Germany. They also looked into Keith’s involvement with the Nazis and it turned out that although he was pressured to join, he never became a member of the Nazi party.

Coca-Cola discontinued Fanta after the war, but in the 1950s, Pepsi-Cola started to release more flavors. To compete, Fanta was reintroduced in 1955. The first flavor was orange, and now there are more than 100 flavors. Every day, 130 million people consume one of those flavors.

3. Dr. Pepper

dr-pepper

Dr. Pepper is famous for combining 23 different flavors. It even says it on the label. Perhaps that’s why it’s so surprising that it’s actually the oldest carbonated flavored drink that is still sold today. Of course, Hires was priorly created, but it was more of a tea drink that wasn’t carbonated.

In 1885, Waco, Texas was a frontier town that held the ominous nickname, “six-shooter junction.” In Waco, there was a pharmacy called The Old Corner Drug Store and it was owned by Wade Morrison. At the pharmacy, people would buy drinks from the soda fountain. That’s when pharmacy employee Charles Alderton noticed that people liked the smell of the mixed fruits from different flavored drinks. Customers were also getting bored with the usual flavors. So that is when Alderton started to mix the syrups until he came up with a recipe he liked.

After serving it to a few customers, he got feedback and perfected the famous soft drink. Soon Morrison started selling it, and it became popular enough that other stores purchased the syrup, which didn’t have a name. Instead, people just called it “a Waco.”

The name was chosen by the owner of the pharmacy. It’s not exactly clear why Morrison chose it, but it’s believed to be in honor of his friend Dr. Charles Pepper, whom Morrison knew when he lived in Virginia. Supposedly, Morrison was in love with Pepper’s daughter. However, when Morrison left Virginia to move to Waco, Pepper’s daughter would have been eight-years-old and he wouldn’t have seen her since his move. Yet, that is the official story from Dr. Pepper.

Soon the drink became so popular that they had problems making syrup. That’s when they met Sam Houston, a man who owned a bottling plant in Dublin, Texas. From there, the business grew to be one of the bestselling soft drinks in the world. And some of its bottling is still done in Dublin, Texas, where you can buy the original Dr. Pepper formula.

2. Pepsi

pepsi

 Much like Burger King to McDonald’s, Pepsi was developed as an imitator with the hopes of replicating the success of a company in the same space. It was first brewed in 1898 by pharmacist Caleb D. Bradham of New Bern, North Carolina. It was a sweet carbonated drink made with kola nut extract, and its name came from another of its main ingredients, pepsin. That’s an enzyme that helps with digestion. It was patented in 1903, and in 1905, they were selling franchises.

Pepsi-Cola sold well at first, but during the first World War, they ran into some financial trouble and filed for bankruptcy. In 1931, it was purchased by Charles G. Guth, who was the owner of Loft, a candy and fountain pop distributor. This started the modern era of the Pepsi-Cola Company. The first thing they did was get a chemist to develop a better drink. They set up bottling operations, and then began selling 12-ounce bottles for a nickel, which proved to be immensely popular.

Guth lost controlling interest in Pepsi in 1941. Nine years later, a former vice president of Coca-Cola company became CEO of Pepsi. He focused on massive advertising campaigns and sales promotions, which increased Pepsi’s earnings 11-fold during the 1950s. That’s when Pepsi officially became the rival to the biggest soft drink company of all-time.

In 1966, Pepsi-Cola, now called PepsiCo, merged with Frito Lay. Then in 1976, they purchased Pizza Hut. In 1978, they bought Taco Bell, and finally they acquired KFC and 7-Up in 1986. Pepsi also owns Tropicana, Dole, Quaker Oats, and Gatorade, making them the second largest producer of food and beverages, just behind…

1. Coca-Cola

coke

One thing most people have probably heard about the creation of Coca-Cola is that the original recipe had cocaine in it. Well, that is 100 percent accurate. In fact, it was cocaine and alcohol mixed together.

The story of Coca-Cola can be traced back to Parisian chemist Angelo Mariani. He made a drink called Vin Marine, that mixed wine and cocaine. It was incredibly popular, because mixing cocaine and alcohol actually creates a third drug called cocaethylene. Cocaethylene acts like cocaine, except that it is more euphoric.

Seeing the popularity of the drink and hoping to siphon off some for himself, Dr. John Stith Pemberton, a pharmacist living in Atlanta, worked on developing his own Cocoa French Wine. Pemberton, who had a morphine addiction stemming from an injury he received during the Civil War, made a concoction he called Pemberton’s French Wine Coca, which was marketed as a cure all that would help “invigorate sexual organs.”

The drink sold well, as one would expect from a drink that mixed cocaine and alcohol. But then in 1886, Pemberton ran into a problem because one of his wine’s main components became illegal in Atlanta. And no, it wasn’t the cocaine. 34 years before the rest of the country, Atlanta enacted a prohibition law that meant alcoholic drinks could no longer be sold.

To get around the law, Pemberton replaced the alcohol with sugar syrup and called the drink “Coca-Cola: The temperance drink.” Without much else to drink, Coca-Cola became incredibly popular. However, Pemberton didn’t live long enough to see the fruits of his labor. In 1888, the maker of America’s bestselling cocaine-wine died of stomach cancer. We’re sure his product (or that pesky morphine addiction) had nothing to do with his illness.

 After Pemberton’s death, Coca-Cola continued to grow in popularity. In 1899, they introduced Coke in bottles, and it became very popular with African Americans, who didn’t have access to fountain pop because of segregation laws. This led to fear among middle class white people that cocaine drinking black people might start attacking white people, and the police would be powerless to stop them. So in 1903, cocaine was removed from the recipe and it was replaced with more sugar and caffeine.

Since then, Coca-Cola has had a long and storied history with many ups and downs. In May 2016, the company (built from an alcoholic drink made with cocaine that was developed by a morphine addicted Civil War vet who ripped off a French chemist) celebrated its 130th anniversary.

Currently, Coca-Cola is the third most valuable brand, just behind Apple and Microsoft. It’s the biggest food and beverage company in the history of civilization.


Soda Pop Backstory

Image result for soda pop

– WIF Consumer Corner