Why play around with a drink that’s already sugar-free? It's a good question.
Creating a new drink like Coca-Cola Zero Sugar takes a lot of time and money. It doesn’t happen overnight. Months of development go into it and there’s a huge team effort behind it. It's not a decision I'd take lightly. But the fact is, more and more people want a no sugar Coca-Cola that tastes even more like the original.
Coke Zero launched ten years ago now. It has grown during that time and helped us reach the point today where 43 per cent of all the Coca-Cola we sell is sugar free. I want this proportion to continue to increase and I want that figure to exceed 50 per cent.
We know that in the last ten years, plenty of Coca-Cola Classic drinkers have tried Coca-Cola Zero and decided it’s not for them because they prefer the taste of the original. There’s no doubt our most famous drink has a very unique and satisfying taste which sugar helps create.
People who love the original tell us they can instantly spot a sugar-free drink and they don’t get the same satisfying taste and experience. So we needed to do something different and ask people to think again. That’s what we’re doing with Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.
The first step is about going further than just making a no sugar drink that tastes great. It’s about creating a drink that tastes great and replicates the taste and feeling you get from a drink that has sugar. That’s not an easy task and it’s tricky to mimic. It takes time and testing. We've focused on that with this new recipe.
The progress in the research and development process since we launched Coke Zero in 2006 mean that we've been able to do that and get closer to replicating that experience. Of course I’m biased but it’s good – very good. The surprise when you try it isn’t that it tastes great – it’s that it doesn’t have any sugar.
The second change is a little more subtle but it’s more significant than it might appear. Coca-Cola Zero Sugar will have a bold, new look. The new packaging is the latest step in our ‘One Brand’ strategy and extends the global equity and iconic appeal of original Coca-Cola to the zero sugar variant.
We announced this last year with our marketing and we’re now moving this to our packaging starting with Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. The new packaging features the iconic Coca-Cola Red Disc more prominently and zero sugar is called out more clearly on pack.
We’re doing this because we believe this will encourage more people to try a no sugar version of Coca-Cola. And it marks the latest stage in our strategy as we move from simply offering a range of drinks with and without sugar to encouraging people to give a no sugar version a try.
I’m proud of the finished result and I believe it can take us to that goal of achieving fifty per cent – perhaps even higher. That’s why I’m putting a significant investment behind it and making it our biggest product launch in a decade. For every person that chooses to drink a Coca-Cola Zero Sugar rather than a drink with sugar that’s a 100 per cent reduction in sugar.
Jon Woods is General Manager of Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland. Read more from Jon about sugar and our drinks.