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4.12.2006

Product Of The Week OR NASA Finally Gets Something Right?


I so want this:

INZA, Colombia — Call it the "Real Thing."

Indians in this remote mountain village in southern Colombia are marketing a particularly refreshing soft drink that harks back to Coca-Cola's original formula, when "coca" was in the name for a reason.

Advertising posters here describe the carbonated, citrus-flavored Coca-Sek as "more than an energizer" — a buzz that just might be provided by a key ingredient, a syrup produced by boiling coca leaves.

Since January, the Nasa indigenous community has been offering the soft drink locally and in neighboring Popayan, where it is bottled. By the end of the year, the Nasa hope to sell Coca-Sek nationwide, targeting the same consumers who drink Gatorade or Red Bull, both highly popular with Colombians.

For six years, the Nasa have been quietly selling coca-flavored cookies, aromatic teas, wines and ointments at informal sidewalk stalls and in health food stores. They say they're trying to capitalize on a plentiful resource — and remove the stigma from a leaf that for them is sacred.

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