Local experts, global insights
Home  >  Economic Insights  > Coca-Cola to launch first new product in the UK in almost a decade

Coca-Cola to launch first new product in the UK in almost a decade

07 August 2014

Coca-Cola will launch Coca Cola Life in the UK this September, following the successful launch in Argentina and Chile earlier this year. The beverage, formulated with sugar and stevia leaf extract, contains just 89 calories.

The drink is designed to appeal to the growing number of consumers who are concerned with excessive sugar consumption and the link with diet-related health problems such as obesity and diabetes 2. A 2013 Canadean study found that 39% of consumers are highly attentive to sugar content when buying food and drink products. As concerns about sugar and the next health time-bomb continue, these fears are likely to intensify.

The launch of the product could be seen as an innovative way of preventing consumers leaving the carbonated soft drink category; those who want a healthier beverage, but associate the “zero” positioning of “diet” drinks to be too much of a compromise. Indeed, Coca Coca Life sits at the half way point between full fat Coca-Cola and Coke Zero when it comes to micro-nutrient content such as calories and sugar. This can help reduce the compromise associated with products marketed around diet and target those consumers who want health and indulgence attributes to be satisfied simultaneously.

However, while stevia is inherently associated with being a natural sweetener by the industry, it remains to be seen how aware consumers are of the ingredient, or the leaf that symbolises it on pack. Moreover, the sweetener is also associated with having a distinct taste that is not too everyone’s like. If the taste is seen as too much of a diversion from that associated with the Coca-Cola brand, it could struggle to make an impact in the UK carbonated soft drink market.

While the introduction of a “better-for-you” cola beverage that does contain sweetener will be welcomed by those consumers who do not favour sugar-fee beverages, the distinct taste of stevia may not resonate well with consumers if it is too different to what they associate with Cola.


Michael Huges By Michael Huges

Mike Hughes is a lead analyst at Canadean. He joined the company in early 2012 from a previous role as a consumer analyst at Datamonitor. During eight years in the FMCG market, Mike has authored numerous reports across the entire consumer packaged goods landscape - with a particular focus on food and alcoholic beverages. Mike has been involved in many large consultancy projects and frequently vents his view in the media including contributions to the Telegraph, the New York Times and BBC.