The new world approach to orange juice

The world of winemaking has two big philosophies: the old world wine (usually French), and the new world wine (California, South America, Australia, etc.). The former emphasizes the region of wine, while the latter highlights the grape variety. Aiming to achieve the consistent taste year after year, grapes of the new world wines are often sourced from different regions and blended appropriately. Basically, the same approach, but elevated to the next level, goes into production of orange juice by Coca Cola, as the recent Bloomberg Business Week article describes (hat tip to Jonathan Baird for sharing the link). The picture below pretty much explains it all.


There are some interesting aspects of the OJ production process that I think Coca Cola has borrowed from the Toyota production system. First, they emphasize working together with growers, so that oranges are grown to the exact specifications. Coke even instructs farmers when to pick oranges. And after that, juice from different batches is blended to achieve the right level of sweetness and acidity. All of that is done so that the taste of the juice is as consistent as possible.

Interestingly, while the approach works for a large bottler, like Coca Cola, it might also present an opportunity for smaller Old World style juice producers. Think Chateau de Miami OJ style. Maybe we’ll even see Coca Cola and the likes adopt regional juice varieties in the future.


Logistics of the “El Plato Supremo”

This might be one of geekier post about the Superbowl. What has always intrigued me about it, is the halftime show. And not even the show itself, but rather the process of setting it up. How is the possible to set up the stage, perform, and remove it, all in less than 30 minutes?

With the help from Google, I found out. As Popular Mechanics reports, the stage is set up by a crew of ~600 volunteers. To avoid potential reliability problems, no motor vehicles involved, everything is done by hand. The crew is trained in advance during several mock up shows (8 of them – see this schedule for the New Orleans 2013 stage crew team). I find this is quite a feat. Watch the video to see for yourself.

Innovation in retail: How do you bring a grocery store to people?

The picture to the left is actually a storefront of Tesco in Korean subway. Watch the video to see how it works – the idea is pretty neat: you put a full size picture of store shelves, it serves as an ad, and it connects shoppers to the online store. Nothing else changes, customers are simply given another more convenient entry point to the online store. If Tesco can also put an interactive screen displaying price promotions there, the shopping experience will be almost as good as in a real store.