Coca-Cola has launched a low-calorie sports drinks called POWERade OPTION, which it hopes will challenge the dominance of rival Gatorade in the sector. The new brand will hit shelves across the US this week.

POWERade OPTION apparently provides electrolytes and B-complex vitamins at levels comparable to regular POWERade, but with fewer carbohydrates and 80% fewer calories than Gatorade.

POWERade OPTION, which is sweetened with a blend of Sucralose, Ace-K and HFCS, contains ten calories and two carbohydrates per 8-fl. oz. serving.

"POWERade OPTION is an example of how the POWERade brand has driven category growth for the last three years," said Mary Herrera, director of marketing for sports & energy drinks, Coca-Cola North America. "We expect POWERade OPTION to attract new consumers and increase consumption occasions for current sports drink users. Consumer interest in healthier, active lifestyles presents a significant opportunity for a low-calorie sports drink specifically designed to replenish and hydrate the body."

POWERade OPTION will be available in Strawberry, Black Cherry and Lemon flavours. Sold in 32-ounce bottles and new easy-to-grip, proprietary 20-ounce single bottles and six-packs, POWERade OPTION will be competitively priced with other sports drinks on the market, Coke said.

An integrated marketing campaign will support the US rollout, including national print advertising in sports, health and fitness magazines, in-store merchandising and promotions, public relations and online sponsorship programs. Sampling teams also will hit the streets to offer people a first taste of POWERade OPTION, with stops at special events in key markets across the country.