Coca-Cola will no longer sell the normal Sprite in the Netherlands. Instead, it will turn the sugar and calorie free Sprite Zero into Sprite, a worldwide first for Coca-Cola.
Focus on healthy alternatives
The soda manufacturer does this because consumers are moving away from the traditional sugar-filled drinks, like Sprite, and are gravitating towards healthier alternatives. The giant has chosen the Netherlands for its pilot program, because the country is one of the most health conscious countries in the world, according to Coca-Cola.
“If it is a success here, then about a hundred other countries are ready to do the same thing", Coca-Cola Netherlands' country manager, Richard Schlasberg, said. The company did emphasize that Sprite performed well in 2015 and 2016, which means that this is not a move to reignite Sprite sales.
Over the past few years, Coca-Cola has moved towards healthier versions of its sodas, including Zero and completely new drinks, like Finley, with lower amounts of sugar. "The classic Coca-Cola gave us a lot and will continue to exist, but it is no longer the only brand on which to build our future", Coca-Cola European Partners Netherlands' (CCEP) general manager, Jaap Wassink, said.
Soda sales under pressure
Dutch soda consumption has been slipping these past few years: a Dutch citizen drank 102.6 liters of soda in 2011, but only 91.5 liters in 2015. A third of CCEP Netherlands' turnover comes from drinks with little to no calories, a percentage that will only increase in the future, the company believes.
In 2020, Coca-Cola hopes to have reduced the number of calories per 100 ml sold 15 % compared to 2012. Its competitor PepsiCo will also lower the sugar levels of its sodas in the future.