Coke to launch ‘with lemon’ Diet variant

Coca-Cola is launching Diet Coke with Lemon in June – the first time the soft drinks company has launched a Diet Coke flavoured variant.

Diet Coke with Lemon was launched in the US and Canada last August. Coca-Cola claims it was in response to customer demand – Coke research shows customers add a slice of lemon to Diet Coke. The company says it expects the variant to attract new consumers, such as health-conscious males.

Rival PepsiCo has lemon-flavoured Pepsi Twist available in diet and regular versions in the US but would not say whether it is planning to introduce them in the UK.

Coca-Cola says the product has been reformulated to suit British tastes and will be backed with a marketing campaign targeting both men and women. The variant will be available in cans and bottles.

Diet Coke sales were up eight per cent in the UK take-home market in 2001 (AC Nielsen). Total sales in the cola category have grown by an average of 3.5 per cent over the past ten years (Canadean).

Coca-Cola has lost 0.4 per cent of its share of the US soft drinks market, falling to 43.7 per cent in 2001. Rival PepsiCo has gained 0.2 per cent of the market, taking it to 31.6 per cent (Beverage Marketing Corporation). Coca-Cola is also believed to be working on a vanilla-flavoured version of its cola to lead its fight back.

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