The Coca-Cola Company

If you’ve got an idea for the next great flavor of Coca-Cola, but don’t know what to do with it, we’ve got you covered. We visit the world headquarters of The Coca-Cola Company in downtown Atlanta, and talk with a few of their nearly 100,000 employees about what it takes to be one of the most recognized brands on the planet. It turns out those high school chemistry classes might come in handy.

RFID Technology

RFID Technology

Coca-Cola’s Freestyle drink machines use radio waves to communicate with suppliers, which makes them environmentally friendly, and more.

Organic Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

We define Organic Chemistry, along with Hydrolysis and Synthesis. And we explain how these things help create new flavors.

Gas Chromatograph

Gas Chromatograph

What’s a Gas Chromatograph? Find out here.

Refractometer

Refractometer

A Refractometer is a pretty important tool in a chemistry lab, and we’ll tell you why.

Atlanta Metro

Special Thanks To

Kirk Glaze, Katelyn Jackson, Reggie Prime, Farhad Chowdhury, Cofi Adams, Brenda Smith, Barbara Gann

The Coca-Cola Company

VO

Please tell us the secret formula!

REGINALD

I have no idea.

BRENDA

Can't do that.

COFI

They don't give the formula to anybody. End of story.

VO

Really?

BARBARA

There's a handful of people that know the secret formula...

FARHAD

I really have no idea what the secret formula is.

VO

Come on! Tell us!

BARBARA

Look even if I knew this coca cola secret formula, I couldn't tell you.

COFI

Hey look, I really do know the formula. And I'll tell you.

COFI

Growing up we always hear about being a doctor or a lawyer. Very rarely, at least in my experience, do we hear about all of the opportunities to be scientists, engineers, and different people who quote-unquote tinker. If tinkering, or that thirst for knowledge and understanding as to how things work is something that truly appeals to any kid no matter what the age is. Just know that there are places where you can actually leverage that desire for understanding and make a career out of it.

VO

Yep, today we're visiting a place that knows a thing or two about that thirst for knowledge that Cofi mentioned-or any kind of thirst for that matter. We're visiting the Coca-Cola Company, where they open a lot of happiness. Based in Atlanta, Coca-Cola employs almost 100,000 people around the world. And why do so many people want to work here?

BARBARA

It is one of the most admired companies in the world, and I wanted to be a part of that.

BRENDA:

It's one of those most highly recognized brands and companies in the world.

REGINALD

Besides the free products? When you tell people that you work for coke you know the first words out of their mouth are like "wow what do you do?" So that's pretty cool.

VO

Good. But let's get back to those free products. Exactly how much Coke do you folks get to drink?

BARBARA

As much as I want.

BRENDA

I get all I can drink every day.

VO

And how much is that?

COFI

About as much as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

VO

Or drink Coke.

REGINALD

If you go to our lunchroom you can find our freestyle machine where you can get hundreds of different flavors just by the push of a button. Then we also have an icy machine. Pretty cool.

VO

Icy machine. Cool. I see what you did there.

Anyhow, you've probably seen one of those freestyle machines Reggie mentioned. They actually use medical technology, such as micro-dosing, along with RFID technology. So they use radio waves to let suppliers know when to send new cartridges of flavor. And that's good for everyone.

REGINALD

Yep, it saves labor. It saves time. It saves money. It saves fuel. Because when the cartridge is empty a radio signal is sent back to the freestyle manufacturing location. And then that particular flavor cartridge is sent back to that particular location where it's empty now.

VO

Not only is that environmentally friendly...

FARHAD

You go from having 4 to 5 different options within a fountain drink to having over 100, and I think that's a really cool thing

VO

It sure is-creating and tasting your own original flavor of Coke, just like the people who work here.

BRENDA

We have a lab here that allows us to sample new products and at least to provide some feedback before they're actually tested in the marketplace.

VO

So if you think high school chemistry classes are a waste of time, maybe you could use them to create the next great flavor of Coke!

Like Cofi said up front, those new flavors and products are created by actual scientists right here at Coca Cola-working in the field of Organic Chemistry. That's a specific type of chemistry that deals with chemicals and compounds that contain carbon. To make different flavors, chemicals can be broken apart-a process known as hydrolysis, and then put back together-a process known as synthesis, to create different combinations, which means new flavors. And scientists use high-tech equipment like Gas Chromatographs and Refractometers to help identify chemicals and flavors. A Gas Chromatograph is a machine that can tell you exactly what chemicals are present in a solution, and in what percentage. And a Refractometer measures the amount of solute that might be found in a solution. Of course some flavors are made inside of actual plant cells using the exact same process. And most soft drinks use dozens of different natural acids and oils to get their recipe just right-which is where all those devices come in.

By the way, does that mean anyone can pitch new flavor ideas?

COFI

Yes, we're certainly open and receptive to any great idea no matter where it originates.

VO

Then I've got one. Avocado Coke!

COFI

Avocado Coke! You know? Not that far fetched. I've heard of some that may seem stranger than that at first glance. But avocado Coke, we'll give that a shot.

VO

Okay, Cofi is probably just being nice. But when the scientists here at Coca-Cola create new drinks and flavors to add to the 3500 they've already got, their fellow employees get to be the very first to try them out.

BRENDA

Anyone can volunteer and sample product.

VO

My kind of job! And which one is the best?

BRENDA

That's the great thing about coca cola brands. There's one for everyone.

VO

Okay. What's your favorite?

BRENDA

Oh I think my favorite is the Coca-Cola.

FARHARD

I would probably say a tie for two things. Probably Vitamin Water and also Coke Zero.

BARBARA

My favorite is Coca-Cola: red can.

VO

Classic!

So whether you're one of the creative scientists working on new flavors, a sampler, or someone working in the dozens and dozens of other departments here at Coke, we'll let Cofi, our self-proclaimed tinkerer, bring us home with his favorite part of the job. Cofi?

COFI

The experience of seeing something come to life that was only an idea and you had a real hand in making that happen - it's wonderful.

VO

I guess that's how it feels when your job is opening happiness! And don't worry. We'll be back with even more great Georgia careers where you can find your own flavor on the next episode of Fast Forward.

This content was developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, this content does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.