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UK version of Coca-Cola Life is sweeter than Latin American versions, confirms Coke, which remains tight-lipped over US launch

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By Elaine Watson+

Last updated the 11-Jul-2014 at 00:25 GMT

Coca-Cola has confirmed that the sugar level in its new stevia-sweetened beverage Coca-Cola Life may vary considerably in different markets, with the UK version containing a lot more calories than the version sold in Argentina, for example. Meanwhile, it declined to comment on reports that a US launch is scheduled for the fall.

Coca-Cola Life, which was launched in Latin America in summer 2013, and will hit shelves in Great Britain in September , contains just 36 calories per 200ml in Argentina (55% less than regular Coke - which has around 79 kcal per 200ml), but will contain about 54 calories per 200ml in Great Britain (32% less than regular Coke).

Asked about the formula, a spokeswoman told FoodNavigator-USA: "Every bottle of Coca-Cola Life is reduced-calorie and sweetened with a blend of sugar and stevia. 

"Based on consumer preferences in each country, the proportion of sugar and stevia in this sweetener blend may vary, resulting in a difference in calories."

We are not confirming Beverage Digest’s news

She declined to comment on a report in trade publication Beverage Digest (first announced on Twitter ) that Coca-Cola Life will launch in the US market this fall, adding: "We are not confirming Beverage Digest’s news.

"Following successful launches last year in Argentina and Chile, Coca-Cola Life has now been introduced in Great Britain. As we continue to innovate and expand our portfolio to meet consumers’ evolving needs and preferences around the world, we will explore the roll-out of Coca-Cola Life in other markets."

Coca-Cola Life has shown great promise in recruiting new and lapsed consumers into the sparkling category

Coca-Cola Life "has shown great promise in recruiting new and lapsed consumers into the sparkling category, as well as generating profitable incremental volume for our system", Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent told analysts in February.

PepsiCo, meanwhile, is also working on new naturally sweetened products, and says new non-cola products combining zero-calorie natural sweeteners and sugar will be launched in the US this year, while new cola products will be tested outside the US.

Speaking on the firm’s Q4 earnings call  in February , PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said:  “We have several great tasting cola product variations using zero calorie natural sweeteners blended with sugar that we’re testing in various markets in the world. And so far, these test results are promising.”

Will natural sweeteners bring carbonated soda category out of its funk? Find out at the live online FoodNavigator-USA Beverage Entrepreneurs Forum  on July 23. Click HERE  to register for FREE.

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