Coca-Cola has been forced to rebrand its “Z” range of no-added sugar drinks as “Zero” just a year after it was launched in the UK market. It follows news that the soft drinks giant is planning to launch Coke Zero later this year.
The Zero range aims to take on rival Pepsi Max, and will be positioned as better-for-you, no added sugar products with the taste of the full sugar product. The range, including Coke Zero, will be aimed at young adult males who do not traditionally buy diet drinks.
Industry insiders say that the Z range failed to make an impact with consumers and that Coca-Cola has confused the positioning of the Z range with its plans to launch Coke Zero.
An industry source says: “The Z range hasn’t struck many chords with the consumer while Zero is stronger branding with a clearer message, so it constitutes a good move as far as I can see.”
But another industry source believes that it is time for soft drinks giants to develop new products that encourage new consumers into the market rather than just developing new variants. She says: “As an industry we need our new products to actually grow the soft drinks market rather than just encourage consumers to switch between one sector and another. The fear is that Coke Zero will just cannibalise lost market share from other soft drink categories rather than bring in new consumers.”
Coca-Cola shelved its diet and light versions of its Fanta, Sprite, Lilt and Dr Pepper brands and replaced them with the Z range in April last year.
The move was in line with the industry shift towards better-for-you products and no added sugar variants following growing concerns over health problems and obesity. The shift has helped to keep sales of carbonated soft drinks afloat.