Coca-Cola will rename and reformulate its sugar-free drink, Coca-Cola Zero in the UK. The American company will spend £10m (€12.66m, $14.39m) in the process, which will make the sugar-free drink look and taste "more like Coke". The new drink will be called "Coca-Cola Zero Sugar" and is expected to be launched in June.
Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola for the UK and Ireland, said: "Since 2012 our commercial strategy has focused on accelerating the growth of our no-sugar options. We know that millions of people love the taste of Coca-Cola and have been working to refine the recipe of Coca-Cola Zero to match the taste of the original — but without sugar.''
While this is Coca-Cola's biggest product launch in the UK in the past decade, the move comes after research by the soft drink manufacturer revealed that 50% of consumers in the country did not know Coca-Cola Zero was devoid of sugar. The company expects the relaunch, which will highlight that the sugar free drink "tastes more like Coke and looks more like Coke" than the original Coke Zero, to encourage consumers to try the "new and improved" version, according to The Guardian.
The move also comes after chancellor, George Osborne, announced in March that UK will impose a sugar tax on soft drinks from 2018. With regards to this tax, Leendert den Hollander, boss at Coca-Cola UK had said, "We don't believe the sugar tax is the right thing to be done. We are not debating the issue, we are debating the solution. The facts don't suggest that a sugar tax works to change behaviour."
Jennifer Rosborough, a nutritionist at health campaign group Action on Sugar, appreciated the relaunch and called it a positive step forward for the company. "[Coca-Cola] now needs to urgently reformulate the original taste product which contains 35g of sugar in a 330ml can and provides no nutritional benefit whatsoever", Rosborough added.
Coca-Cola said apart from having a sugar free drink in its portfolio, it was taking other steps to reduce sugar intake by customers. For instance, the company is already offering a "mini" can of Coca-Cola that just has 250ml of the drink. This is already available in more than 13,000 stores across the UK.