LONDON: A new packaging design for the Coca-Cola range aims to bring ‘classic’ Coke and its Zero Sugar variant together under the brand’s iconic red colouring, with only the colour of the top of the label or the bottle top distinguishing them in future.

The move to reduce the prevalence of black on Zero Sugar packaging comes as the company said that more than half of the Coca-Cola it sells in the UK contains no sugar.

“For more than 130 years, the colour red has been associated with the great taste and experience of enjoying a Coca-Cola,” said Coca-Cola Marketing Manager Alec Mellor. “We want to make it even clearer that you can have that taste and experience with or without sugar.

“Sales of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar have almost doubled in the last two years,” he added, “and we believe this latest change will help us grow it even further and encourage more people to give it a try.”

A £5m marketing campaign that includes giving out 7m sample cans of Zero Sugar will back the design change.

Many soft drinks manufacturers have reduced the sugar levels in their products to avoid the “sugar tax”, which was introduced in April 2018. Drinks with more than 8g per 100ml are taxed at a rate equivalent to 24p per litre while those containing 5-8g of sugar per 100ml are taxed at 18p per litre.

Classic Coke contains 10.6g of sugar per 100ml, and while the company has no intention of changing the recipe – its 1985 attempt to do so became known as one of the epochal blunders in marketing history – consumers are moving away from such sugar-heavy drinks towards healthier options.

Accordingly The Coca-Cola Company has invested in waters and fruit juices as part of its plan to become a “total beverage company” while also shifting its strategic focus away from volume sales towards revenue per transaction.

Sourced from Coca-Cola, BBC, Euromonitor; additional content by WARC staff