The Cola-Cola Co has dipped its toe in the mid-calorie soft-drinks market

The Cola-Cola Co has dipped its toe in the mid-calorie soft-drinks market

The Coca-Cola Co is testing mid-calorie versions of Sprite and Fanta in a handful of US stores, according to local reports.

Sprite Select and Fanta Select contain 70 calories and will only be available in selected outlets in Memphis, Detroit, Louisville and Coca-Cola's home state of Atlanta. Regular cans of Sprite and Fanta contain about 150 calories.

Beverage Digest, which first reported the story, said the drinks are sweetened with a mixture of sugar, the stevia-based Truvia and erythritol, a sugar alcohol.

A Coca-Cola spokesperson told the US publication that the new line is a limited test of new formulations to see if they appeal to customers. There are no plans for a wider rollout.

Confirming the report to just-drinks, aspokesperson for the company added that prices will be in line with other sparkling beverages.

The tests follow the launch in March of Pepsi Next, PepsiCo's own mid-calorie cola that the company hopes will do better than Pepsi Edge. Pepsi Edge, launched in 2004, used similar low-calorie sweeteners to Pepsi Next but was taken off the shelves after a year because of disappointing sales.

In March, Jones Soda launched Au Natural, which contains 35 calories and will only be sold in Natural Food stores. In a call with investors last week, Jones' CEO, William Meissner, said the product aims to capture the market lost from the larger CSD brands.

“They lose 1% to 3% a year and that's a lot of migrating people looking for something healthier,” Meissner said.