Coca-Cola to Sell Stevia-Sweetened Beverages for First Time

by Christopher Freeburn | July 2, 2013 10:56 am

Coke Coca Cola bottles pop 630 flickr 300x215 Coca Cola to Sell Stevia Sweetened Beverages for First Time[1]The natural sweetener stevia is finally coming to Coca-Cola‘s (KO[2]) flagship drink. But not in the U.S[3].

Coca-Cola Life will combine stevia, which has no calories, with sugar to create a drink with half the calories of regular Coca-Cola. However, the product is only being sold in Argentina — at least for now, Reuters notes.

The company will assess consumer reaction to Coca-Cola Life before it is introduced into other markets. That follows the same pattern as Coke Zero, which was launched in Australia in 2005 before being released in other countries.

In Argentina, Coca-Cola is the dominant soft drink brand with 50% of the soda market. Rival PepsiCo (PEP[4]), by comparison, holds just 16% of the soda market.

Coca-Cola has been looking to launch new low calorie drinks after facing rising criticism from anti-obesity activists[5]. While zero-calorie sodas have proven popular, mid-calorie drinks like Coca-Cola Life have proven a harder sell with consumers.

Stevia, which is derived from a South American plant, is already found in a number of other Coca-Cola beverages, including Fanta Select and Vitaminwater Zero.

Shares of Coca-Cola rose modestly in Tuesday morning trading.

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: http://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Coke_Coca_Cola_bottles_pop_630_flickr.jpg
  2. KO: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=KO
  3. not in the U.S: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-06-26/business/chi-midcalorie-coke-20130626_1_stevia-no-calorie-coca-cola-zero
  4. PEP: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=PEP
  5. facing rising criticism from anti-obesity activists: http://investorplace.com/2013/05/coca-cola-plans-to-step-up-its-anti-obesity-offensive/

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