Woolworths supermarket says it will not stock Coke No Sugar
DON'T expect to be able to buy Coca-Cola's new No Sugar drink in Woolworths. The country's largest retailer says it won't stock the product on its shelves.
Why? A Woolworths spokesman says customer feedback is resounding - they would rather purchase water.
This consumer trend is a clear step towards a desire for healthier lifestyles and more variety and it's also believed the new Coca-Cola no sugar range did not receive an overwhelming demand from customers.
The spokesman said that while Woolworths shelves obviously stock a wide range of Coke varieties for their customers, they want to provide choice of other brands too.
"This decision is customer driven and is in response to what our customers tell us they want to see on the shelves," the spokesman said.
"The challenge for us is to balance the space equation on our shelves.
"Customers are not necessarily asking for different products in one particular range but continually asking for more alternative products.
"Our customers looking for a no-sugar or low-sugar cola option have ample choice already in the category across a range of different pack sizes and formats.
Amid continually-plummeting sales, last month the once all-powerful soft drink company released the fourth sugar-free or low sugar version of its staple beverage Coca-Cola - heavy with promise that after five years of testing they've finally nailed the elusive taste of the original.
This comes as global sales have been on a downward trajectory for more than a decade.
With 10 teaspoons of sugar in one 375ml can of original Coca-Cola, amid an escalating obesity crisis in the developed world, most health professionals recommend it not be consumed at all, even in moderation.
It's not just Coke but all sugary soft drinks that are off limits.
Sales have been falling across the board, though there are also theories that energy drinks, sales of which have correspondingly increased, have nabbed some of the soft drink market's share.
Diet soft drink sales have also fallen among the health conscious and the market has, often unsuccessfully, tried to plug that gap with more "natural" alternatives.
The original sugar free Coca-Cola product, Diet Coke, took a hit in sales in the early years of the last decade amid concerns its artificial sweetener, aspartame, was linked to brain cancer.
Hundreds of studies, many funded by soft drink companies, have dispelled the cancer claims and declared the sweetener safe. Coca-Cola went on to use it in the development of Coke Zero, released in 2006.
Aspartame is also the sweetener used in the new Coke No Sugar.
Woolworths confirmed it will continue to stock Coca-Cola Zero in stores nationwide. In fact, this could be part of the issue. Rather than Coca-Cola simply replacing Coke Zero with No Sugar, they have made the decision to run the two brands side-by-side for a time.
Both have red and black packaging and look almost identical. With shelf space at a premium, having two such similar drinks with the same brand could have been a step too far for Woolies.
In addition, consumers are increasingly turning to still and carbonated water as a thirst quenchers with sales booming and Mount Franklin the most popular brand. But don't feel too sorry for Coke - its Australian bottler Coca-Cola Amatil owns Mount Franklin.