Coca-Cola reformulates Life, boosting stevia content and reducing sugar

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Coca-Cola Life propelled natural sweetener stevia into the limelight in 2013
Coca-Cola Life propelled natural sweetener stevia into the limelight in 2013

Related tags: Coca-cola life, Stevia

Coca-Cola Great Britain has created a new recipe for stevia-sweetened Coca-Cola Life, in order to further reduce the sugar content of the drink. 

The new version of Coca-Cola Life (the brand sweetened with a blend of sugar and stevia leaf extract) will contain 45% less sugar and calories than the regular full calorie flagship drink.

The original Coca-Cola Life, which was launched in Great Britain in September 2014, contained a third less sugar and calories than the regular version.

The new 330ml cans of Coca-Cola Life will contain 76 calories and 19g of sugar, and will hit shelves in April. 

Coca-Cola Life was initially launched in Argentina and Chile in 2013. It is now available in the UK, US and Australia, alongside a number of other markets.

When Coca-Cola launched Life in the UK in 2014, it was heralded by the company as a product ‘well positioned to meet changing lifestyle trends.’

However, unit sales fell throughout the latter half of 2015, according to figures from IRI.

Reducing calories

Coca-Cola Life is worth £35m in sales, since its launch in September 2014. Coca-Cola says that, if the rate of 2015 sales continues into 2016, the drink could “potentially remove more than 800m calories from the nation’s diet.”

Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola Great Britain, said the new version of Life is the result of extensive research and development. “We’ve been able to reduce the sugar and calorie content event further without compromising the great taste,”​ he said.

“Coca-Cola Life has an important role to play as part of our overall strategy to offer choice and raise awareness of our lower and no sugar options.”

What is stevia?

Stevia has grown in popularity in recent years as a calorie-free, natural sweetener.

Found in the stevia plant's leaves, steviol glycosides are up to 300 times sweeter than sugar.

He added that Coca-Cola GB is also helping people reduce calorie and sugar intake in other ways, such as by smaller pack sizes and color-coded nutrition labels.

Coca-Cola Great Britain has spent £15m in reducing sugar and calories through reformulation since 2012. The recipe for Sprite, for example, was changed in 2013​ and now also uses stevia extract. This reduced the calorie and sugar content by 30%.

In March last year Coca-Cola GB launched its ‘One Brand’ strategy,​ aiming to move Life (and other reduced calorie/sugar versions Coca-Cola Zero and Diet Coke) to center stage. It has stated it wants more than 50% of its sales to come from these versions by 2020.

A global campaign ‘Taste the Feeling’​ was launched last week, also aiming to integrate reduced calorie varieties with the flagship full calorie brand across all markets. 

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