Chris Brook-Carter | 27 January 2004
It’s amazing how quickly marketing watchwords such as “wellness” “functionality” and “detox” have entered the everyday language of the beverage world. On the one hand, credit is due to the foresight and marketing skills of those companies who have led this trend. On the other, it is a reflection of just how important the whole health concept is to the buying public.
I read an interesting article in the UK’s Sunday Independent this week, which questioned the whole validity of a range of health drinks.
“Detox is one of the buzzwords of the moment on the fringes of the health business, and it is a load of codswallop,” it read, before quoting the British Dietetic Association saying: "The whole concept is basically irrational and unscientific. If we had all these toxins in our bodies, we'd feel ill."
But codswallop or not, there is no denying that the trend has altered the way soft drinks are sold to the public. The latest, and perhaps biggest, manifestation of this need to react to health concerns is the possibility that both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are to launch mid-calorie varieties of their core Coke and Pepsi brands.
Both have confirmed they are testing a cola that has fewer calories than their originals and a different flavour than the diet versions which weight-conscious consumers often turn to. Few details are on offer, and, it could be months before they are released, but it is fascinating to see how even the giant brands are being affected.
It will also be of great interest to see how any launch sits within company portfolios already well served by diet colas and health drinks. The fear, of course, is cannibalisation of the main brands, but the hope is to re-stimulate waning interest in the carbonated category.
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