Soda Vending Machines to Display Calories

According to the Associated Press, Coke, Pepsi, and Dr Pepper are rolling out new vending machines that will post the calorie counts of the drinks. “They’re seeing the writing on the wall and want to say that it’s corporate responsibility,” Mike Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest told the wire.

This new initiative comes on the heels of a citywide soda ban (sugary drinks in more than 16-ounce cups will be officially prohibited in public places) and regulations that would require restaurant chains and vending machines to post the information as early as next year.

The machines will feature calorie counts on the buttons people press to select a drink.

Vending machines will also feature small decals, such as “Calories Count: Check Then Choose.” Coke, Pepsi, and Dr Pepper are also focusing on developing more diet drinks and the machines will increase the availability of lower- and zero-calorie drinks.

“We have market research that says consumers really like this – they like choice, they like the ability to make choices,” said Susan Neely, president of the American Beverage Association.

There is no timetable for when all vending machines will be converted, but the companies are working with third-party operators to convert the machines over time.


Cops: Food Stamps Traded for Blow and Cash

So you can’t use food stamps to go to Hawaii — but you might be able to feed your cocaine habit with them.

Cops in Lynn, Massachusetts — a Boston suburb — say eight people used Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for coke and cash, according to The Boston Globe.

Police told reporters that four Lynn bodegas routinely overcharged on SNAP transactions — which work like debit cards.

So, customers would pay $100 in SNAP funds for food, but actually receive $50 in groceries and $50. Authorities say the scheme has gone on since at least 2009, according to the Globe.

Some of these convenience stores truly lived up to their names, even offering customers blow in exchange for food stamps.


Talking to Strangers: Mexican Coke on the Upper East Side

Recently, EfV was forced on a long trek to the Upper East Side to run an annoying errand. When our work there was done, we were relieved to spot a cozy looking lunchcounter spot called The Burger One on Lexington. Enticed by a hand-written sign out front, we went for a carnitas taco, rather than a burger—it was only snack time. This was a simple, top-notch taco. The pork was flavorful and nicely browned, and the house-made jalapeno-tomato hot sauce was wicked spicy and very tasty. Isn’t it amazing how food can cheer you up? Does that sound sad?

Anyway, then we met our new best friend, Izzy, a handyman who works nearby, who was freaking out about Mexican Pepsi. In fact, he had stopped by to purchase four bottles of the stuff. He said he doesn’t drink soda too often, but when he does, this is the only way to go. He said it reminded him of home and tastes completely different than American cola. His enthusiasm inspired us to purchase a bottle of the Coke, also Mexican, and do a little taste-test at home. In fact, we’ve been curious about all this since we heard about Mexican coke at Costco.

We poured both cokes into glasses and noted immediately that the American stuff had bigger bubbles. It is also sweeter and has a deeper, more molasses-like taste. It has an almost bark-y flavor, faintly similar to root beer. Next to it, our regular coke was practically refreshing. It tasted watery and much less complex, and it leaves a certain film on the tongue. Our taste buds and the nutritional information are in agreement: The Mexican coke lists sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup as the main ingredient, in addition to carbonated water, coloring, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, and caffeine. The Mexican also has more sugar, and therefore more calories and more carbs than its American cousin.

All that, plus the fact that the Mexican bottle, at 355 ml, cost $2, while the American coke, at 591 ml, was $1.25 at our corner deli, makes us think Izzy has the right approach to this whole soda habit: Do it rarely, and go for the good stuff.

The Burger One
1150 Lexington Avenue
between 79th and 80th
(212) 737-0095