The Expiry Time on the Coke Bottle

Everyone loves Coca-Cola, right? Many Waldings prefer Coke to Pepsi. (And some Waldings, who are allergic to citric acid, can't even drink Pepsi; but that's a tale for another time.) But this page is not about the debate between Coke and Pepsi. This page is about the expiry time on the bottle.

If you've ever bought a bottle of Coke, you've probably noticed that, beside the best-before date, there is always a time. On the nearest bottle, I see that it is Oct 13, 97 at 12:30. Does this really mean that the bottle of Coke is best not only before October 13, but before 12:30 on that day? We decided to write to Coke and find out.

A visit to the Coke site

We visited the Official Coca-Cola site and explored. It's an interesting site that changes every day, and we also found a place to click and email our question. Here is what we wrote:

Hi there. I have a question about the expiry date and time on your Coca-Cola bottles. I know that the date on the bottle indicates the date at which the Coke expires. However, my question is what does the time on the bottle mean? Does it really mean that the Coke expires before that specific time? I am just curious and hope you can answer my question. Thank you.

Response from Coca-Cola

Thank you for contacting The Coca-Cola Company via e-mail. We appreciate this opportunity to help you to understand what the coding means on our bottles.

The date on the packaging is called the "Optimum Taste Date". We recommend you consume the product by this date to enjoy the best taste. The time stamp that you see actually is the time of the day the product was produced in the production facility. Our products are safe to consume beyond the date but may have begun to lose their flavor.

If you ever have product that does not meet your expectation, please call us, 1-800-438-2653, and one of our representatives will be happy to assist you.

If you have additional questions or comments, please visit our Web site again.

The Coca-Cola Company
Industry and Consumer Affairs

"Optimum taste date", huh? Does that mean the Coke tastes better and better and better until that date, and then starts losing its flavour? Unfortunately, we never manage to keep bottles of Coke around here long enough to find out!

Do you have any more questions? Check out:
- Oddities in the movies.
- Other questions.
- Other answers.
- Grannus' circle.

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