Coke axes Coca-Cola Life brand as sales tumble

Coca-Cola is phasing out its Life brand in the UK less than three years after the troubled product’s launch as new figures show sales are slumping.

Coca-Cola is to axe its Life brand in the UK from June as sales continue to fall.

Coca-Cola Life, which accounts for just under 1% of the company’s trademark sales, has been dogged by poor performance since launching in 2014. The product is marketed as a more natural alternative to other Coke variants as it is partially sweetened with stevia extract.

During the year to 18 March 2017, Coca-Cola Life’s volume sales fell 73.1% and dropped 74.6% in value terms, according to Nielsen data seen by Marketing Week. By contrast, volume sales for Coca-Cola Zero Sugar rocketed by 81.2% and value sales by 56.6% during the same period.

The company said now was the right time to phase out the Life brand in order to make a clearer distinction between its sugar and sugar-free options. The latter now make up 52% of its UK sales.

Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson questioned the wisdom of creating the Life brand at the time of its launch, arguing it was a “half-way house” between the regular variant and existing healthier options.

Commenting on the company’s bigger struggle to grow group sales, he said: “Innovations like Coke Life cannot and will not save the day.”

Coca-Cola launched its ‘One Brand’ strategy in March 2015 to bring its product variants under the Coca-Cola master brand instead of being marketed as separate products. The company said that after pulling the Life brand it would focus on promoting the remaining three variants: Coca-Cola Classic, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke.