Coca-Cola accelerates global expansion of low & no sugar sparkling soft drinks

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar launches in the US

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar launches in the US

Related tags Coca-cola zero sugar Coca-cola

Coca-Cola is launching Coca-Cola Zero Sugar in the US: giving Coca-Cola Zero a 'new name, new look and improved real Coca-Cola taste’. The launch comes as the company accelerates global expansion of low and no sugar sparkling soft drinks.

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar has been designed to taste 'a lot like a Coke'; and Coca-Cola is championing the growth potential of the calorie-free drink as it focuses on developing no and low calorie options in line with consumer trends.

The revamped Coca-Cola Zero has already been making its way onto shelves worldwide over the last year, having launched in some markets in Europe, Latin America and in Australia.

‘Coke Zero upgrade’

Coca-Cola Zero was launched in the US in 2005 to give fans a sugar and calorie free Coca-Cola.

Now, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar will hit shelves nationwide in the US next month. The ingredients are the same as Coca-Cola Zero, but the company has adjusted the flavor profile ‘to make the great taste of Coke Zero even better and a lot like Coke’.

Coca-Cola says the new launch represents one of the biggest investments we’ve made since the 2005 Coke Zero launch to increase trial and awareness of a zero-sugar Coca-Cola option in the US”.

Global growth

The US release builds on the launch of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar in other markets around the world, with Coca-Cola president and CEO James Quincey saying the revamped brand will ‘be a growing and important part of our portfolio’.

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar originally launched in 2016 and is already available in Great Britain,​ Mexico and more than 25 other markets around the world.  In some markets such as Australia – where it was launched last month​ - it is known as Coca-Cola No Sugar.

Announcing the product in the US, Coca-Cola says it will ‘give the brand another boost and encourage more Coca-Cola fans to try a great-tasting zero-sugar product’.

coca-cola zero sugar square

Speaking in yesterday’s Q2 earnings call, Coca-Cola president and CEO James Quincey describes the product as a reinvention of Coke Zero… a slight repositioning and… about helping the zero-calorie part of the portfolio grow, which is linked to playing a role in tackling obesity.”

Coca-Cola’s revenue growth in sparkling soft drinks is being driven by no-sugar options, Quincey continued. He says the company is perfecting recipes, expanding availability, and supporting enhanced execution in this category.

“Specifically, we continue to see excellent results from Coca-Cola Zero Sugar,”​ he said. “This product has demonstrated strong consumer appeal in Europe, Mexico and other markets, resulting in double digit global volume growth for the brand year-to-date.

“So, we will continue to roll this new and improved product out across key markets, including the US, supported by substantial marketing and media support. And with its even more Coke-like taste, we expect it to continue to be a growing and important part of our portfolio.”

Quincey highlighted its performance in Western Europe, but points to the global potential for the brand. “Global growth continues to accelerate, and we think it has a long way to go,”​ he said.

Releasing its Q2 2017 results yesterday, Coca-Cola pledged to accelerate the global expansion of low and no sugar sparkling soft drinks.

It is part of its strategic priority to ‘transform the business into a total beverage company with balanced growth across a consumer-centric portfolio’ - including low/no sugar options and drinks in emerging categories.

“Our organic revenue growth in sparkling soft drinks was led by innovation in and marketing support for our low and no sugar options like Coca-Cola Zero Sugar”,​ said Quincey.

Coca-Cola’s net revenues declined 16% in Q2, impacted by bottling divestitures and currency exchange. Organic revenues (Non-GAAP) grew 3%.

Low and no-calorie sparkling soft drinks grew unit case volume mid-single digits during the quarter as the company accelerated the introduction and expansion of reduced-sugar offerings around the world.

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar continued to grow double digits in Europe, Middle East & Africa and Latin America, the two operating segments with the broadest availability of the new recipe.

‘A Coca-Cola for everyone’

The one brand packaging across Coca-Cola varieties

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar’s packaging has a new design to make it look more like Coca-Cola: with the red iconic Coca-Cola disc, and black background already used with Coke Zero. The words ‘zero sugar’ are displayed prominently on pack.

The new packaging also brings the beverage in line with the company’s ‘One Brand’ strategy,​ bringing the Coca-Cola portfolio of beverages together as a single trademark brand ‘to show fans there is a Coca-Cola for everyone’. 

The US launch will be supported by an integrated marketing campaign, including television, digital, radio, outdoor, social media and retail advertising. There will also be a sampling tour. 

Coca-Cola in the US

Coca-Cola: 140 calories per 12 fl oz can; sweetened with HFCS.

Coca-Cola Life: 90 calories per 12 fl oz can (35% fewer calories than other leading colas); sweetened with cane sugar and stevia leaf extract

Diet Coke: 0 calories; sweetened with aspartame

Coca-Cola Zero: 0 calories; sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame potassium

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar: 0 calories; same ingredients as Coca-Cola Zero  

Other Coca-Cola products available in the US include Caffeine Free Coca-Cola, Caffeine Free Coke Zero; Coca-Cola Cherry, Coca-Cola Cherry Zero; and Diet Coke with Splenda.

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