Retailers pour cold water on Coke’s new ‘health’ drink

Retailers have hit out at Coca-Cola’s new functional drink Diet Coke Plus, saying it is “too niche” and is unlikely to have an impact on the carbonated drinks market, just weeks before the drink is due to be launched.

Diet Coke Plus is expected to be supported by a major campaign, and insiders are concerned that the soft drinks giant is investing in the new drink at the expense of launching a water brand in the lucrative UK market.

One industry insider says: “Coke would be better investing in higher growth areas, such as water, than carbonated drinks, even if they are sugar-free.”

The retailers say they are listing the drink, but add that the extent of the competition within carbonates and other categories will hinder its growth.

Diet Coke Plus is already available in the US and Belgium and its launch cements Coca-Cola’s shift away from its bedrock of sugary carbonated drinks.

The drink is aimed at Diet Coke fans who desire extra health benefits from their drink – it contains added vitamins. Coke claims the drink helps maintain a healthy immune system.

The launch is the first time Coca-Cola has added health benefits to one of its soft drinks in the UK. Diet Coke Plus will be available in two variants, one with vitamins B3, B12, and vitamin C, while the other will contain antioxidants with vitamin C and green tea.

VCCP, Coke’s roster agency, is handling the advertising, which will include television, print and outdoor activity.

Coke says: “The UK launch of Diet Coke Plus follows successful launches in the US and Belgium. We tested the idea for Diet Coke Plus with consumers and the concept performed extremely well.”

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