Life comes a full circle

about 2 years ago
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Coca Cola is going through an existential crisis. With increasing awareness of the ills of drinking these sugary, aerated waters, Coca Cola sales have been slumping consistently and it is now seriously worried.

It has launched two contests on the crowdsourcing platform HeroX — one for consumers and one for scientists and researchers but the purpose is one — to seek out ideas and possible new sources of low/no-calorie natural sweeteners.

The “Sweet Story Challenge” is encouraging consumers around the world to share stories about sweeteners derived from plants other than stevia or monk fruit or sugar cane.

The contest copy says, “We invite you to share stories and videos about those plants and plant sweeteners that you or those in your culture or community have commonly used, or commonly use, in everyday life. We do not want you to taste, consume, or obtain samples of any substance that you have never consumed before. Any submissions that cannot demonstrate a history of the sweetener’s use will be disqualified. A total of $100,000 will be awarded, including up to five individual or team winners, with winners announced in December.”

The other contest is addressed to researchers and scientists to “find a natural, safe, reduced, low- or no-calorie compound that generates the taste sensation of sugar when used in beverages and foods, not derived from stevia or monk fruit. The substance must perform as well as sucrose in most attributes — taste, performance, safety, cost and consumer perception/acceptance.”

For the second contest, there is a $1 million grand prize. The judging process involves selection of 10 semi-finalists to be announced in February, with the winner to be announced in October 2018.

Life indeed always comes in a full circle!

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