The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

July 02, 2007

Fast Food Musings

Hereabouts, the Coca Cola corporation is currently busy marketing "Coca Cola Zero", a new product with a black label that has "zero sugar, full taste". Incidentally, they have been selling a similar product with a silver label called "Coca Cola Light" for years, which, according to the label, also contains no sugar. In fact, the list of ingredients and the nutritional table on both drinks is identical. The one discernible difference that I noticed is that the new "full taste" product tastes singificantly more watery than the old one. Otherwise it's more or less the same product in a different bottle. I wonder why they even bother.

Of course I am talking about the same company that got into the headlines a few years back for selling bottled tap water - not that they're the only ones doing this.

In other news, I was recently asked whether the old Pulp Fiction quote is really true and the Quarterpounder is really called "Royale with Cheese" in Europe. It is.

Incidentally, when McDonalds opened its first restaurants in Germany and Austria in the late 1970s, the Quarterpounder was called "Viertelpfünder", which is a pretty accurate translation of Quarterpounder into German. However, subsequent marketing research showed that the product didn't sell too well because people thought it sounded too fat and unhealthy. So, contrary to what John Travolta claims it's not because of the metric system that it was renamed, but simply to make the company's most calorie-heavy product (505kcal) sound slightly healthier.

Present-time transitory perversities such as the 881kcal "Bratl-Burger" were not an issue back then.

Posted by Horst on July 2, 2007 07:32 PM to creatures great & small | Tell-a-friend
ssp said on July 3, 2007 02:58 PM:

I guess the main objective here is marketing black bottles to guys. But I also thought that Coke-0 has less of a rank sweetener taste than Coke light. As you say - at the expense of being more watery/less sour.

Got to stick to the full calorie one then...

(Look at the Wikipedia entries, they seem to list slightly different sweeteners for both diet Cokes)

mig said on July 3, 2007 05:05 PM:

coincidentally, i had a zero at lunch today. we appear to be on the same beverage schedule. i found it was sweeter than the zero sugar advertising had led me to expect, but it was also less fizzy than the normal "sugar free" version, so i could drink it faster. also the lid is black, leading me to recall arguments with my brother when i was a kid over whether or not black is a color, and how although he preferred it, he would never say it was his favorite color because he was in the black is not a color camp, and was too stubborn to just go with the social lie and call it a color and get on with people. some in the family think he has asperger's.

Lucid said on July 3, 2007 07:07 PM:

Actually, Coke found through market research that "Coke Light" is nothing "real men" would drink, like "light" being something for girls. Funny it took them years to notice that. Anyway, to sell their product to the real guys they had to invent something more masculine, like "Zero".
If you have ever seen the TV-spot, you know it.

Horst said on July 3, 2007 09:23 PM:

Sugar-free Coke for men? Sounds like an impossible oxymoron to me. In the world where I live, only women seem to consume sugar-free products.

And apparently the fact that I switch channels as soon as a commercial comes up on TV makes me miss out on certain minor facets of life.

arved said on July 3, 2007 11:32 PM:

no it is not an oxymoron. i know quite a few male people that drink prefer coke light or pepsi light over regular coke.

I have been in the pepsi Max/ pepsi light camp for nearly a decade with interruptions.
Coke zero imho tastes more like pepsi light, but surprisingly looks less like soap water.

sabine said on July 4, 2007 10:28 AM:

Like Lucid says, "zero" sounds more masculine: "zero Verantwortung", "zero Langeweile", etc.

dieter said on July 4, 2007 10:47 AM:

All this commercial stuff completely fails me. I find it harder and harder to find yoghurt to my taste (i.e. NOT low or zero fat), and whenever I drink coke, it must be the one with sugar, just as i do not see the point in drinking decaf.

Where can I sign in for the less quantity for more qality club?

As to bottled tap water. There are regions where drinking bottled tap water does make sense. I have been to some of those...

Jann said on July 4, 2007 11:29 AM:

Most places I go I drink the tap water, but where I live in southern California we are warned that it may not be safe for pregnant women nor young babies; a physician needs to be consulted in those cases we are told.

Most people here, well I guess most of those who can afford it, drink bottled water. But it's a crapshoot; we never know if the "mountain spring water" we're paying more than a dollar a gallon for is any better than what comes out of the tap.

nora said on July 4, 2007 07:56 PM:

i would drink mass tap water if it didn't taste so clorine-y!
anyway,i think that austrian diet coke tastes more like us real coke.
this ( )btw would go perfect with the bratlburger.
also, since it's the 4th of july, you should all have a vanilla coke float to celebrate the occasion: tall glass, straw, long spoon,a scoop of vanilla ice cream with real coke, although austrian cola light would probably work to. delish!

nora said on July 4, 2007 07:58 PM:

work, too. (after all, there is a grammar and spell checker amongst the readers here)

Jann said on July 5, 2007 02:42 AM:

In re fast food: there's this funny TV ad and I'm wondering if they show it in Austria, or Massachusetts for that matter; the one where the couple is in the drive thru section of a burger place, and the man orders love handles, a double chin and blubber. The woman says she'll have the same, but instead of the blubber she'd like thunder thighs and a badonkadonk butt. If you haven't seen it, it's here:

Georg said on July 11, 2007 01:49 PM:

There is some tendency within the European Commission to restrict the use of labels like "light", as described here:,2144,2016580,00.html

Therefore, one could suspect that "Coke Light" might slowly be phased out by the nearly identical "Coke Zero" which has the more unconspicuous name...

Bettina said on July 13, 2007 08:44 AM:

My husband did not drink any kind of Coke in the last years, but since there is Coke zero available, there is always either zero or light at home, just because he became curious to clear up the mystery.. . Coke´s marketing strategy works! I did not even try it.

Jann said on July 14, 2007 05:27 PM:

People who like pop(soda) might as well drink the regular kind, as there's evidence that those who consume diet soda are more likely to gain weight than lose. The theory goes something like this: when you drink something that tastes sweet but doesn't give you the sugar buzz that your body expects, your body will try to get the expected calories in some other way. The article is here:

dieter said on July 16, 2007 09:25 AM:

@Jann. I like your article. Especially as it confirms my scepticism towards artificial sweeteners and my motto: Rather take less from the real thing than more from whatever kind of replacement.

On the other hand, the clue already lies in the article itself: people who drink diet soft drinks are aware of a weigth problem. And they are aware for a cause.

dieter said on July 18, 2007 08:44 AM:

One more comment on Jann. Maybe there is more truth to your article than I was willing to give it. When I told a colleague about it he replied that aspartame is generally acknowledged as an appetizer in pig fattening.
I have to admit that I am no specialist in animal raising, but it seems the scientists quoted in your article could have saved a lot of time had they asked their local pig farmer ;-)

Jann said on July 20, 2007 07:15 PM:

@ dieter: I was talking to one of my nurse colleagues yesterday, and we both agreed with you that we'd rather have a small portion of the full fat, real sugar version of something than a larger portion of the "dietetic" version.

And regarding yogurt: I had some excellent yogurt in Vienna last November, much better than what I can get in the states. I hope they don't change it!

nora said on July 31, 2007 04:32 PM:

Yeah, the yogurt situation in the us is indeed dire. trader joe used to have italian yogurt in little glass jars, now they are selling a "european style" variety (macha, choc or mocca), they taste remotely like over yonder. for recipes i use the fage/face 2% greek stuff.

Horst said on August 2, 2007 03:15 PM:

They have just replaced normal 3.6% yogurt with "creamy, stirred" 3.2% yogurt. The new stuff is liquid, watery and very un-yogurt-like. Besides, if I want my yogurt stirred, I can stir it myself.

nora said on August 4, 2007 02:55 PM:

that used to be part of the ritual: yogurt, spoonful of sugar, long spoon ... move over ice cream.
my father in law told me they nixed frufru a while ago, and that it's now a revoltingly artificial tasting concoction.
oh, where are the days of 3.6 yogurt in those brown glass bottles ...

Jann said on August 5, 2007 08:52 AM:

Most yogurt now sold in the US has added gelatin, and/or pectin, and/or cornstarch, and/or tapioca starch, I imagine to prevent it from being thin and watery, which yogurt shouldn't be in the first place, of course.

And speaking of yogurt in glass jars, I was reading about the history of the Dannon Company, and apparently they started out making yogurt in glass jars in the early 1940's in the NYC area, but in very small amounts for certain ethnic groups. When I was a child, most people in the US didn't know what yogurt was. We'd never heard of it. Then we started hearing ads for something that sounded like "dannonyoger" on the radio (WQXR in NYC - we lived in northern NJ at the time). They must have realized that people were confused, because they started saying at the end of each and every ad "Yogurt is the product, and Dannon is the brand!" That sure cleared it up for us!

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