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US: Coca-Cola Co hits back at CSPI rip-off claim

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The Coca-Cola Co has strongly rejected a claim by the The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) that the soft drinks maker is “fleecing” American consumers.

In December, Coca-Cola Co launched a 90-calorie mini can for its flagship Coca-Cola soft drink in the US in a bid to offer healthier beverage choices.

The can is used for Sprite, Fanta Orange, Cherry Coca-Cola and Barq's Root Beer.

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However, the CSPI said that, while “calorie counters” may appreciate the convenience of the can, it is relatively expensive for consumers.

“On an ounce-for-ounce basis, the new cans cost 50-140% more than 12-ounce cans. In Washington, DC, 12-packs of 12-ounce cans have been available for between $4 and $5.99 at Giant and Safeway stores. Both stores charge $3.99 for 8-packs of the new 7.5-ounce cans. So while the bigger cans have been selling for between $0.89 and $1.33 per quart, the new cans sell for $2.13 a quart, or about $8.50 a gallon,” the group said.

“The only innovation here is that Coke is charging more money for less product,” said CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson.

A spokesperson for Coca-Cola Co said that CSPI “continues to miss the point of what Americans are looking for to help them manage their diets and live healthy, happy lifestyles”.

“Our consumers have told us they want more options when it comes to size, and smaller thirst occasions, and we listened."

The group added: "Our pricing is in-line with other portion-controlled packaging in the marketplace. We strive to ensure that our pricing is in-line with demand and we are listening closely to what our consumers have to say on the mini can.”


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