It is rather common knowledge that in the U.S. we take life with a large side of sugar. Media present different discussions and debates related to the high rate of obesity, sugar consumption and the size of soft drinks in the U.S. We even had the example of Mayor Michael Bloomberg trying to prohibit oversized soft drinks in New York. They might be right about America's sugar obsession.

One of the key decisions that marketers need to make when doing business in international markets refers to standardization versus adaptation. In order to be successful, major companies are trying to adapt as much as possible. Regarding sugar preferences and regulations around the world, companies have shown that many times adaptation is the best approach. For example, Nabisco was forced to adapt to the local preferences after introducing Oreos to the Chinese market. Among others, they reduced the amount of sugar in the Oreos, because they seemed too sweet for Chinese consumers' tastes.

When discussing about Coca-Cola and its products, there are also differences from one country to another regarding the amount of sugar and the ingredients used. For example, 100 ml of original Coke have 42 calories in the U.K. and in France, but 44 calories in the U.S., where we also benefit from an additional gram of sugar. It might not seem much, but multiply this by 10 for two oversized drinks per day, and you will see the difference in calories.

For Coke's sibling, Fanta Orange, not only the sugar content differs around the globe, but also its color and taste. The bright orange drink in the U.S. has even more calories (45.6) and sugar (12.5 g) than Coke for 100 ml. At the same time, in the U.K. and France, just to name a few countries, it includes way less sugar and its color is much closer to yellow than the American bright orange. In the U.K., incredibly, Fanta has only 28 calories and 6.9 grams of sugar, while in France, 39 calories and 9.6 grams of sugar per 100 ml, significantly less than its sugary American sibling. There are many other examples of countries where Fanta counts on less sugar and on a more savory flavor. Moreover, while European products include sugar, their American counterparts are based on high fructose corn syrup.

The examples do not end here. Take some products from an ethnic store and compare them to their U.S. made correspondents. You even have a reason to indulge in the name of research.

Have a sweet week.

Maria Petrescu, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Marketing at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University. She can be reached at More About the Contributor