Game’s afoot at Coca-Cola in Beijing

Although the summer Olympic games in Beijing have come to a close, another game’s afoot at Coca-Cola’s lab there. Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co., first famous for mixing South American coca leaves with African kola nuts, is trying to repeat history, reports Although shrouded in secrecy for months, the company has been trying to perfect prototype beverages using Chinese herbal cures, an initiative which might be just as important to Coca-Cola’s future as its original formula. The collaboration between Coke and the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences is being conducted in Beijing at the Coca-Cola Research Center for Chinese Medicine, a laboratory opened last October. At an opening ceremony, Rhona Applebaum, a Coke vice president and the company's chief scientific and regulatory officer, said the laboratory "will ultimately help us bring the insights and benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine to consumers all over the world," according to a company press release. With consumers increasingly concerned about their health and wary of sugar-laden beverages, Coke is "looking for exotic herbal ingredients to make a completely new drink and sort of revolutionize the whole soft-drink industry," said Matthew Crabbe, director of Access Asia. Ingredients Coke includes in its new drinks will undergo extensive tests to ensure they are safe for long-term consumption, and although hush-hush about specifics about the types of herbal drinks, work is being done on cell cultures to test cures thought to slow aging. It’s notable that some 40 people work in the lab partly financed by Coke. The Statesman