Australia: Coke forced to replace Coke Life two years after launch

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA), one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of ready-to-drink non-alcohol and alcohol beverages, coffee and food snacks in the Asia Pacific, and among the world's largest bottlers of The Coca-Cola Company range, is forced to replace its Coke Life brand in Australia just two years after its launch. Sales of Coke Life, which has a third fewer calories than standard Coke, seems to have fallen flat in Australia and other parts of the world. CCA now replaces Coke Life by the new brand Coke with Stevia, which uses more stevia and has half the sugar of Coca-Cola Classic

Alison Watkins, group managing director at CCA, who took office three years ago having successfully worked before for Sydney based agribusiness GrainCorp, does not face an easy task these days. Last week CCA issued a shock profit warning for 2017 due to falling sales and increasingly health-conscious consumers looking for alternatives to sugary drinks. In addition higher costs for sugar and aluminum negatively impact financial results. As a result, shares of CCA on the Australian Securities Exchange have fallen almost 13 per cent within one week and only recovered slightly in the last days.

“The launch of ‘Coke with Stevia’ is the latest step in Coca-Cola responding to evolving tastes and preferences, particularly as people look to balance their intake of sugar,’’ a spokesman for Coca-Cola South Pacific said. The company plans to develop even more replacement products in the near future, such as juices and bottled water for a premium market.

CCA operates in six countries – Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Samoa. Other than producing non-alcoholic business, the company also brews and distributes Coors (known as Coors Light in America) and Blue Moon in Australia in partnership with Molson Coors and Yenda craft beer and Pressman's cider, that are locally produced in Yenda, NSW by Australian Beer Company, which CCA jointly owns with Casella Family Brands. The portfolio also includes Vonu Premium Lager, as well as Fiji Bitter and Fiji Gold (Fiji's number one selling beer) and the Swedish brand, Rekorderlig cider.

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