Stevia-Sweetened Coca-Cola Coming to U.S.

ATLANTA -- As part of its commitment to reduce the amount of sugar and calories in its flagship soft drink, The Coca-Cola Co. will launch naturally sweetened Coca-Cola Life in the United States and United Kingdom.

Coca-Cola Life is sweetened with sugar and the naturally occurring, zero-calorie sweetener stevia. The soda contains half the calories of a regular Coke and made its first appearance in Argentina last year, as CSNews Online previously reported.

Now, according to Forbes, the Atlanta-based beverage giant is ready to introduce the product to the U.S. and U.K. markets this year based on the results of months of testing. The company first brought Coca-Cola Life to shelves in Chile in November.

The move into new markets comes as diet carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) continue to struggle in the U.S. Diet Coke, which accounts for almost one-fourth of the diet CSD sales in convenience stores, saw a 6-percent decrease in unit sales in the 12-week period ended in April, according to the news report.

In contrast, Coca-Cola Life generated a 7-percent increase in beverage volumes in Argentina last year, despite weak economic conditions in the country.

Even with the positive numbers, though, Coca-Cola Life could fail to move the needle in the United States, Forbes reported, citing the bitter aftertaste associated with stevia-sweetened drinks.

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