Coca-Cola No Sugar has been under development in the US for the last five years, with the aim of creating a Coke that “tastes even more like classic Coca-Cola but without any sugar - and to make the experience of drinking Coca-Cola No Sugar be as close as possible to the refreshment of ‘the real thing’.”
Coca-Cola No Sugar will be available across Australia from next week (June 16), in all major and independent retailers.
Coca-Cola No Sugar (in some markets called Coca-Cola Zero Sugar) will also be rolled out across additional markets this year.
Zero, Diet & Coca-Cola No Sugar: What’s the difference?
Coca-Cola launched its first sugar-free variety more than 30 years ago: with Diet Coke first appearing on Australian shelves in 1983 and Coke Zero launching in 2006.
Diet Coke has a ‘distinct taste, designed to be a lighter cola offering’ without sugar, and Coca-Cola says it has no plans to change this beverage.
However, the new Coca-Cola No Sugar is designed to offer fans of the full calorie Coca-Cola classic a sugar-free alternative with the same taste.
“We think that Coca-Cola No Sugar is the best tasting sugar-free cola we have ever made. It is the product of years of research and marks the latest step in the evolution of our sugar-free Coke recipes,” says Coca-Cola.
Australians have been drinking fewer kilojoules [calories] from soft drinks over the last decade, according to Australian Beverages Council, the trade association for the industry. The consumption of low-kilojoule varieties has increased by 2% nationally and today, nearly one in two drinks consumed is of a non-sugar variety (42% volume share in 2011, compared to 30% in 1997).
To convince consumers on this point, Coca-Cola will run a sampling campaign for No Sugar over the next three months.
Consumers will be able to get free samples and will be able to download vouchers on their phones, via Shazam during TV ads, and at voice-activated outdoor panels.
Like Coca-Cola Zero and Diet Coca-Cola, the new Coca-Cola No Sugar is sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame K (sweeteners 951 and 950).
While the ingredient lists between Coke Zero and Coca-Cola No Sugar are very similar, Coca-Cola has been working on the flavor profile of Coca-Cola No Sugar to bring it in line with Coca-Cola classic.
It hopes that this similarity in taste will appeal to Coca-Cola fans who are watching their sugar intake.
“The key difference [between Coke Zero and Coca-Cola No Sugar] is due to further optimization of the flavors,” says Coca-Cola. “Like all product labels in Australia and New Zealand, any flavors used in the recipe are all included in the ingredient list under the term ‘flavors’.”
Another difference is that Coca-Cola No Sugar does not contain preservatives.
Clear naming choice
The name ‘Coca-Cola No Sugar’ was chosen to “be as clear as possible about the fact that the new drink is exactly that – a Coca-Cola with no sugar,” says Coca-Cola.
Sugar free cola: UK
In the UK, Coca-Cola has launched Coca-Cola Zero Sugar (replacing Coca-Cola Zero), and is following a similar strategy by emphasizing the similarities in taste between its sugar free and classic cola, using the slogan 'tastes more like Coke'.
Australia is the second country to launch the drink, following an initial launch in Mexico last year.
Coca-Cola Zero is reportedly to be pulled in Australia following the launch of Coca-Cola No Sugar.
Coca-Cola No Sugar will be available in a range of package sizes and formats in Australia: 250ml can, 250ml PET, 330ml glass bottle, 375ml can, 390ml PET bottle, 600ml PET bottle, 1.25L PET bottle, 8x200ml cans, 10x375ml cans, 24x375ml cans and Fountain.
The recommended retail price of the new variety will be in line with other Coca-Cola trademark drinks.
The Australian portfolio currently consists of:
Coca-Cola Classic: sweetened with sugar and containing 43 calories per 100ml
Coca-Cola No Sugar: a reformulated sugar-free version, designed to have the closest taste to classic, sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame K and containing 0.3 calories per 100ml
Coca-Cola with Stevia: 50% less sugar than Coca-Cola classic, containing 21 calories per 100ml. Replaced Coca-Cola Life in the Australian market in February this year.
Diet Coca-Cola: sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame K, with 0.4 calories per 100ml. A ‘lighter cola with distinct taste’.
Coca-Cola Zero: sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame K, with 0.3 calories per 100ml