coke life

Coke Life, the mid-calorie cola launched by the world’s biggest soft drinks brand in 2014, faces an uncertain future after sales crashed 56% on volumes down 60%.

The Grocer can reveal that Coca-Cola is now axing all but three of the variant’s SKUs - 8-packs of 330ml cans and 1.75-litre and 500ml bottles - and reducing distribution to ‘key outlets’ only.

Life has contributed £14.1m to Coca-Cola’s overall loss of £48.2m [Nielsen 52 w/e 8 October 2016] - the third greatest branded food & drink loss in our 2016 Top Products Survey. Only Coke Zero Sugar is in growth.

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Some say Life’s days are numbered. “The value share of Coke Life in the cola sector is now less than 0.5%. Its rate of sale is less than a third of the rate of sale at launch,” said Nielsen senior client services manager Laszlo Zsom. “While the distribution of Coke Life shows a decreasing trend, it is still at a relatively high level, around 60%, so it may be ahead of a longer, gradual phaseout.”

Coca-Cola European Partners changed Life’s recipe in the new year, cutting its sugar content by 15%, yet the reformulation had no impact on the variant’s decline.

“We’ve decided to focus our efforts on continuing to grow Coca-Cola Zero Sugar alongside Coca-Cola Classic and Diet Coke,” said CCEP associate director Ian Ainslie.

“Life was introduced in 2014 to test a lower-sugar option using sweeteners from natural sources and since launch it’s built a small and loyal following in the UK. We’ve therefore decided to focus on a targeted range of pack sizes in key outlets where these consumers shop.”