Coca-Cola has repackaged its top selling soft drink Diet Coke in the UK in a further effort to freshen up the brand. The latest revamp, which demonstrates the company's commitment to its low-calorie variant, has been well timed as consumers develop renewed post-Christmas interest in healthy living and calorie counting.

Coca-Cola's renewed commitment to its Diet Coke variant comes at a time when sales have reached an all time high. Last year, Diet Coke sent shockwaves through the soft drink sector by overtaking its regular counterpart as the UK's top soft drink.

Sales of Diet Coke increased 16.4% in 2003, equating to £210m. In contrast, regular Coke's sales reached £198 million. According to Coca-Cola the UK market is second only to the US.

Both bottles and can packaging in the diet regular and diet lemon formats have undergone design changes, although the lettering and silver coloring will remain the same. It is hoped that the new packaging for Diet Coke, rolling out now, will attract even more loyal consumers. Given the success of Diet Coke in 2003, it makes sense to keep some parts of the packaging's physical make-up constant.

The Coca-Cola group is confident that the revamp will help to continue Diet Coke's year-on-year growth, which has been boosted by growing numbers of health conscious drinkers. Relaunching the diet brand's packaging over the New Year period is perfect timing as a growing number of sporadic dieters will be attempting to re-assert their commitment to weight loss and calorie cutting.

Product evolution is important for any brand's ongoing success. Continual innovation such as introducing a lemon variant has ensured the Diet Coke brand is growing the cola market. With sales of the Coca-Cola Lemon variant showing room for growth, it seems 2004 will prove to be an equally exciting year.

This year, a key battleground is likely to be between low calorie carbonates and bottled water. Health conscious consumers have driven sales of bottled water by over 20% and designer water sales reached over £250m in 2003, with Highland Spring, Evian and Volvic the leading brands. Expect aggressive marketing tactics in the coming months as the soft drinks industry looks to capitalize on the health bonanza.