Coke Life Is Coming To Australia: Everything You Need To Know

Coca-Cola Australia has confirmed that its green-labelled, stevia-sweetened alternative to Diet Coke will be entering the local market — but not until April next year. We spoke to Coca-Cola Australia's group marketing manager Dianne Everett about what Coke fans can expect from this new soft drink and how it will distinguish itself from the company's other diet options.

It's not typical for a soft drink to be announced six months out from launch, but that's exactly what Coke has done with Life; a “natural” soft drink that uses a mixture of cane sugar and natural sweetener extracted from the leaves of stevia plants.

The addition of stevia has allowed Coke to reduce the drink's kilojoule count by 35 per cent without compromising on taste. This is thanks to stevia's incredibly high sweetness level — the extract contains approximately 200 times the sweetness of regular table sugar. Despite this, it contains no calories.

Unfortunately, you won't be able to pick up a can of this stuff any time soon: Coke Life isn't slated to appear on Aussie store shelves until April 2015. Indeed, the preliminary batch is so limited that we weren't allowed to take a single sample from Coke's North Sydney headquarters. (The company is currently using a mixture of British imports and dummy cans as it awaits local production.)

So why the lengthy lead up before launch? According to Dianne Everett, the months to come will be utilised by Coke to inform customers about what the new product offers and where it sits in relation to the company's other diet offerings. Expect lots of advertising between now and April.

"This is going to be a huge launch for us; it's definitely the biggest we've had since Coke Zero," Everett revealed to Lifehacker.

"The typical Aussie [Coke] drinker is pretty unforgiving on taste, so we'll be focusing on that, as well as the fact that it has fewer kilojoules. But the important thing is that it has a very similar [taste] profile to Coke. We've seen what other markets have done and we're applying the best approaches."

The above could just as easily describe Coke Zero: it too is marketed as a low-kilojoule alternative to Coke that doesn't compromise on taste. Despite the similarities, Everett is confident that the Life product can distinguish itself as a separate offering — without cannibalising sales from the rest of Coke's diet portfolio.

"We're taking Coke Like to market as a compliment to a family of Coke products. It doesn't replace anything. We think it's unlikely that a Diet and Zero drinker will want to bump up their kilojoules: they want lightness. This product is targeting balance seekers; someone who is looking to reduce some of their kilojoule intake without cutting sugar out completely."

Coke is also planning to ramp up the "natural sources" angle: something that Pepsi conspicuously failed to do during the 2012 launch of a similar stevia-derived offering, dubbed Next.

"The fact it's made from natural sources is really important and will help shape our plan going to market," Everett explained. "I don't want to diminish the efforts of our competitor's approach, but I think the single biggest draw card of this product and the main focus of the campaign will be all about explaining what stevia actually is and what the consumer benefit is.

"Stevia is what helps us get to that great taste and lower kilojoule count. If you don't help consumers understand that, then you don't have much of a proposition."

We recently taste-tested the product in London where the product has already launched. Everret confirmed to us that Australia will be getting the same exact formula. (Some markets have tweaked the kilojoule content or use corn syrup in place of sugar.)

This is good news, as we highly enjoyed the British version: it has a much cleaner aftertaste than Coke Zero and is closer in flavour to regular Coca-Cola, albeit with some subtle differences that we actually found pleasing. If you're looking to cut down on sugar but can't abide the synthetic taste of diet soft drink, we reckon this is a pretty good compromise.

In the meantime, try some of these healthy alternatives to soft drinks and check out our roundup of diet energy drinks.


Comments

    Are they really using that kaki green colour for the can..? :(

    Last edited 30/10/14 11:10 am

      Probably why it's coming out April, because yeah, that colour isn't too inviting >_>

      are you implying that the war paint green colour is not appealing? because if so, 100% with you.

      Colour marketing 101. Green = nature
      Darker greens relate to money, wealth and prestige, while lighter greens relate to growth and freshness....
      Too much green can lead to feelings of envy, greed and selfishness. Dirty olive green can have negative connotations unless it is associated with the environment.

        Ex Army... Kaki = Kill something..! Also... Ugly... :)

          I figured between the fact some of these are mock ups, combined with different lighting and cameras, (Top vs bottom image) I had no idea what the colour should look like.
          So here it is from the official Coke UK website: http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/health/stevia/coca-cola-life/
          Baby puke green

    Camo Coke- The forthcoming Defence Force beverage of choice . Can be guzzled in the jungles whilst still remaining covert.

    Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Coke Life, how many versions of diet coke do they need? Why don't they bring back Tab and Tab Clear while they're at it? Then the fatty boomba's ordering a large Big Mac meal will have more choice for their "healthy" drink option. Marketing - people with no brains pushing product to consumers with no brains.

      You forgot Caffeine Free Coke.

        Cherry Coke and Cherry Coke Zero. Vanilla Coke and Vanilla Coke Zero also. Diet Coke with Lime...

        Then you have the drink dispenser machines in the US where you can take a base soft drink and then add additional flavours (eg, Coke Zero & Grape).

        God I love America

          Diet coke vanilla, Diet coke with lemon. I miss the early 2000s.

          oh yeah, was in Hawaii few weeks back and spent 90% of my time at one of those machines. they even had about 10 types of powerade you could get out of them. amaze. meanwhile, fave was raspberry vanilla coke.....pretty awesome!

      Tab actually is still produced and sold in certain markets (including the US). It's of course nowhere near the lead product though. If you want some you can get it through various importers such as usafoods.com.au.

      I'm a Coke Zero drinker mainly, but my mum prefers Diet Coke so there (seems) to be enough of a difference to cultivate separate markets.

      Re Coke Life I'm not interested and don't represent the target market but I can see people who don't like Coke Zero being interested. It's similar to Pepsi Next. Time will tell as to its success though.

      Fatty boombahs who order a diet coke with their big mac should be congratulated and encouraged as effects are at the margin. It's a far better choice for them than a Big Mac and a regular coke and and all or nothing approach to dietary changes is a methodology with a high failure rate.

    You know what's an even healthier alternative? Not drinking Coke.

      Wow! I never thought of it like that! We should spread this news because I'm pretty sure most people don't realise this. It's very unlikely they have multiple competing preferences and engage in a cost benefit analysis to derive their optimal consumption behaviours.

        I'm sure most people know this too, and that for some reason just not drinking Coke is too far a stretch for some people (though I'm not one to judge, I adore KFC). I just find it somewhat amusing that companies like Coke try to market these things as "healthy" alternatives. That's like saying catching ebola is "healthier" than getting brain cancer. Technically true, but it's still bad for you.

      I don't understand. How can someone *not* drink Coke? Then they wouldn't be drinking Coke. Such a thing has never been seen!

    ....and here comes Pepsi True complete with a slightly less revolting green can.

    Here we go again...

      Pepsi have had their stevia sweetened product on the market for quite some time now, it's called Pepsi Next. Coke are pretty late to the party on this one.

    That olive drab. lol.

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