New Coke brand could be end for Zero
As local distributor Coca Cola-Amatil battles falling soft drink sales, Coca-Cola No Sugar will be launched in Australia and New Zealand on June 16 – the second market, after Mexico, where the new product will be trialled ahead of its US launch.
The new product uses the same sweetener as Diet Coke, which first hit shelves in 1982, and Coke Zero, introduced in 2006. Coca-Cola claims the new product tastes like its “classic” full-sugar variety and instead of Zero’s black label it will carry the classic red and white coke colours.
“It is the closest we have ever come to the classic taste of Coca Cola but with no sugar,” Coca Cola Amatil South Pacific marketing director Lisa Winn said.
The product is the company’s latest attempt to arrest consumers’ shift away from soft drinks, a change which has put the category under pressure for a number of years. Shares in Coca Cola-Amatil slid about 10 per cent in one day in April after it flagged a surprise profit warning that it blamed on softer sales and price pressure in all its categories.
The company has been expanding its growth categories of dairy and juice drinks to offset an ongoing decline in soft drink sales in Australia, with pressure on its cola categories cited as one of the factors behind a 3.4 per cent drop in revenue from its beverages business in 2015/16.
Volumes in its sparkling beverages division – which covers soft drinks – fell 4.7 per cent last year while water, energy and dairy drink volumes rose 3.1 per cent. Winn said Coke Zero had been “a great product”.
“It continues to perform well and grow but we as a company are always innovating and looking for the next evolution,” she said. “It is our intention to phase out Coke Zero over time but we will let consumers decide.”
No Sugar Coke will be sold alongside Coke Zero and Coca-Cola with Stevia, a lower-calorie drink that was launched as Life in 2015 but underwent a name change after performing poorly.