Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE:KO) is launching new “slim” cans of its flagship beverages as soda companies come under more pressure from the government and citizens concerned about the obesity epidemic and other health risks associated with drinking carbonated sodas.
Coke is launching a 250 ml slim can in the U.K. that contains about 35 fewer calories than the regular 330 ml can. The drink will remain priced about the same per milliter. The new slim cans are part of Coke’s ongoing efforts to turn its focus to energy drinks and healthier, non-carbonated options offered by the brand as soda sales continue to fall.
Overall, beverage companies are facing difficulties with carbonated soft drink sales as they come under pressure to become more transparent about the contents and health risks associated with consuming soda. Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc.’s (NYSE:DPS) low-calorie option Dr. Pepper Ten was so successful that the company plans to launch more of its sodas in Ten versions.
Coke rival PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE:PEP) has been working to develop low-calorie and natural sweeteners to use in its soft drinks, seeing great success with its low-calorie Pepsi Next soda. PepsiCo also plans to focus more heavily on growing its healthier brands like Tropicana and Quaker in response to the trend.
In May, the Financial Times reported that Coke was undergoing policy changes that included more transparent labeling, the promotion of diet options, and the move to stop any marketing to children younger than 12 in response to harsh criticism from the government and consumers. Beverage companies are trying to expand into emerging markets to make up for the fall in soda sales in the U.S., which has been caused by consumer self-regulation and more awareness about the high calorie content of sugary beverages.
Meanwhile, analysts have predicted a crackdown on soda around the world, meaning beverage companies need to shift their focus away from carbonated soft drinks if they want to continue to adapt.
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