Retailer concerns hit new Coke energy drink launch

Coca-Cola’s new energy drink Relentless is facing early problems as retailers express concerns about the amount of caffeine in the product.

Relentless contains 32mg of caffeine in every 100ml, the same amount as Red Bull but Relentless, which launches into forecourts and multiple convenience stores over the next month in a 500ml size can (MW February 2), is twice the size of Red Bull’s 250ml “slimline” can.

A retail source says his outlet has not yet decided whether to stock Relentless. He says: “The can is too big and we feel it’s somewhat irresponsible not to have an age restriction on a product that contains so much caffeine.” The source says Relentless is also in the wrong format, and that a drink targeting “consumers on the go” should come in packaging that is designed to reseal – just like a sportscap bottle.

Another retail source, who will be stocking the drink, says: “We have discussed these issues with Coke and were satisfied with the response. But it is a lot of caffeine, and the point about an age restriction is a valid and fair one.”

The source adds: “It is a big product and once it’s opened you can’t re-seal it. Coke might as well revisit the pack format issue in the near future.”

A Coca-Cola spokesman says: “This product and its packaging has been developed for a specific consumer need. The can is marked with a warning that it is not suitable for children, pregnant women or those sensitive to caffeine.”

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