Coke, Pepsi change recipe best-selling drinks

Coke, Pepsi to change recipe of best-selling drinks

6:08 AM, 16th October 2017
Coke, Pepsi to change recipe of best-selling drinks
PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are including stevia, a plant-based natural sweetener in their best-selling drinks. (File photo)

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Beverage giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have embarked on a big gamble in India by changing the recipes of their best-selling drinks to include stevia, a plant-based natural sweetener. Atlanta-headquartered Coca-Cola may also launch a variant of the country's largest-selling mango drink Maaza with 30 - 50 percent less sugar, said sources.

Pointing to public concern over high sugar content in fizzy drinks, PepsiCo, too, is test-marketing a reformulated low-calorie option of its lemony drink 7UP, while Coke is doing the same with Fanta, the new variant of which includes stevia and around 5 percent orange juice.

"As articulated by our global CEO, Coca-Cola has undertaken a three-pronged strategy to give consumers the wider choice of low no-calorie products, which include reduced serving size, reformulation and innovation," said a Coca-Cola India spokesperson. "This is work in progress and we intend to share a comprehensive plan by the end of 2017."

Reformulation of food and beverages is a tricky business as Coca-Cola found out the hard way. In 1985, it launched a `new' reformulated version of Coke only to face consumer backlash over taste. Three months later, it withdrew the product. While 7UP and Fanta will be the first reformulated products to be launched in India, PepsiCo's hydrotonic brand 7UP Revive is the only drink created in its original form with stevia as an ingredient.

"We have been growing in India in double-digits,' said Ajay Chandran, senior director, South Asia at PureCircle, a B2B stevia supplier. "Globally, around 14,000 products have been launched with stevia and many companies in India are experimenting with it currently."

Traditionally, aspartame, an artificial sweetener often criticized for its sharp aftertaste and health risks, has been the go-to ingredient for beverage companies looking to launch low or zero-calorie products. For instance, Coca-Cola's Coke Zero has aspartame as an ingredient and comes with a cold warning on the label, which says it's "not recommended for children".

© Times Of India

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