The global soft drinks giant is understood to have conducted consumer tests on two products - an organic cola and a carbonated milk-based drink, a source told The Grocer, with a view to targeting the US, Europe and some developing markets. The organic Coke was reportedly panned by consumers, but the carbonated milk was well received, he said.
Coke has been selling a milk and fruit-based range in Japan, called Qoo, since 1999. But last month trials began in New York delis and small speciality retailers for a fizzy milk range under the brand name Vio.
Available in 8oz cans, containing skimmed milk and cream, the four-strong Vio line-up comprises Very Berry, Peach Mango, Citrus Burst and Tropical Colada variants, and is being positioned as a refreshment drink rather than a nutritional milk product.
Previous attempts to create carbonated dairy drinks in the UK ended in failure. In 2003, soft drinks rival Britvic launched FreeKee Soda, later renamed Strange Soda, under its Tango portfolio, consisting of Strange Strawberry and Odd Orange variants.
The product was delisted in 2004 as the concept proved "too challenging for consumers at that stage," Britvic told The Grocer this week. And David Jago, director of insight and innovation at Mintel, said he doubted a fizzy milk drink would ever work in the UK.
"Consumers expect a milk-based drink to be chilled and will immediately become suspicious when they see one on shelves."
The US trials are understood to be part of a Coke initiative called 'Project Life', looking at milk-based products.
A Coca-Cola spokesman said it had no imminent plans for a UK launch.