With Vanilla Coke already available in the UK through unofficial channels, it is now believed that Coca-Cola has officially brought forward the launch of the line extension.

Coca-Cola has, according to reports, confirmed that Vanilla Coke will be available through independent retailers with effect from the beginning of April and will be in supermarkets by May. The launch is reportedly being supported by a £5m ad campaign including TV.

Launched in the US last year, Vanilla Coke has been one of Coca-Cola's biggest successes in many years. But industry analysts, Datamonitor, believe that Coke may have missed its moment to launch the product in the UK.

"Seen alongside falling sales of Classic Coke, the lost opportunity highlights Coke's troubles in the carbonated drinks market," says a Datamonitor report. "Vanilla Coke will officially hit Britain's shops earlier than expected - but only because, unofficially, it has already arrived. Having launched in the US last year, the product is already available for savvy independent retailers who import on the grey market."