The Coca-Cola Co. has made the eye-catching decision to expand its signature range with a new, permanent flavour.

The US behemoth has launched Coca-Cola Spiced in the US after seeing what a senior marketing executive was “a significant increase in consumers willing to try spices in beverages”.

Sue Lynne Cha, the vice president of marketing for The Coca-Cola Co.’s North American arm, described the new offering as having “a very complex flavour profile”, insisting it is “Coke’s boldest tasting brand innovation yet”.

Since 2022, The Coca-Cola Co. has aimed to capitalise on flavour trends under its Coca-Cola Creations banner, targeting younger demographics specifically by spreading brand awareness through social media and viral content.

The latest entry to the range came earlier this year with Coca-Cola K-Wave, a product the company said combined the classic Coke taste “with an additional burst of fruit flavor and K-Pop magic.”

By making each Creation a limited-time offering, Coca-Cola manages to reduce risk while still generating a social-media buzz. However, the relatively safe strategy behind Creations also means volume sales can drop off quickly.

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According to a consumer survey carried out by GlobalData, Just Drinks’ parent in the fourth quarter of 2023, when asked about the factors that influence purchasing choices, 26% of respondents in the US aged 16 to 34 agreed it was “essential” for a product to be “novel/unique” before they would decide to buy. By comparison, only 13% of US consumers aged 35-plus said the same, with the 48% majority instead stating the uniqueness of a product was “not necessary” when making a purchase.

The results lend credence to the view that millennial and Gen Z demographics in the US are making more purchases guided by more novel or experimental flavours, especially in food and drink.

It could be argued, therefore, The Coca-Cola Co. needs a bolder product strategy than Creations to fully ride that wave. The company has perhaps identified that as an issue with its launch of Coca-Cola Spiced.

Besides simply being a unique flavour profile, the release of Coca-Cola Spiced is a pivotal moment in The Coca-Cola Co.’s brand history since it is the first permanent addition to the Coca-Cola line-up in the US in three years.

Unlike Creations, Coca-Cola Spiced has received a much more substantial rollout. Coca-Cola Spiced is available in regular- and zero-calorie variants, is packaged in most standard formats (two litres, 500ml, 330ml, 150ml), and can be bought in multipacks. 

As such, The Coca-Cola Co. has been bolder than with Creations, especially considering the company’s track record with previous cola flavours and their subsequent discontinuation due to poor performance – a family which includes Coca-Cola Spiced’s predecessor, Coca-Cola Cinnamon.

Early reviews of Coca-Cola Spiced show some disappointment with the flavours. Adam Swierk from said “it’s not entirely clear what distinguishes the new drink from prior ones” and that, in contradiction to The Coca-Cola Co.’s intentions, there is in fact an “intense hit of raspberry flavour in every sip”.

A similar view was expressed by Gwynedd Stuart of, who stated “Coca-Cola Spiced smells like Sun-Ripened Raspberry from Bath & Body Works and definitely gives raspberry up front but it settles into something much stranger”.

Overall, the success of Coca-Cola Spiced hinges on how well the drink and its marketing adapt to ever-changing consumer demands. In the short term, The Coca-Cola Co. can exploit interest in novel flavours to catapult Coca-Cola Spiced forward, quickly gaining momentum, and generating waves among younger consumers with its fresh take on cola.

However, as consumers become familiar with the product and the novelty wears off, maintaining growth long-term will rely on associating Coca-Cola Spiced with other popular franchises such as sporting events or fast-food chains, as well as, crucially, whether or not people like the taste enough to continue drinking it out of personal preference.