Why no one reverse-engineers Coca-Cola, according to a food scientist

The chemists at Ava Winery say they can reverse-engineer fancy vintages of wine in a lab and make their own. So, we asked, couldn’t they also reverse-engineer the secret recipe of Coca-Cola?

“Sure,” co-founder Alex Lee told us. “[But] I don’t know if there’s any good reason to do it. Coca-Cola is already so cheap, and there are already so many colas out there, that there isn’t any real value in trying to replicate their formula. Pepsi could easily do it, but they don’t because they want their product to be different.”

In other words, it’s not worth it for anyone to spend the time and money to recreate a product that is already very cheap and that anyway has an unmatched brand value. People aren’t going to buy a 90 cent can of cheapo cola, no matter how much it tastes like Coke, when they can pay one dollar for the real thing.

Conversely, in wine, Lee, a Harvard Business School graduate, has found a market where there’s lots of room for disruption.

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