Updated 09 June 2017

Coke tackles sugar concerns with pricing, recipe moves

Coca Cola SA has adopted a holistic strategy to reduce the overall sugar content across its portfolio of beverages.


Beverage manufacturer Coca Cola South Africa (CCSA) says it is making a number of moves to reduce the sugar content in its drinks, as the debate over the proposed taxing of sugar-sweetened beverages continues.

During the latest round of public hearings about the proposed "sugar tax", CCSA managing director Velaphi Ratshefola indicated that prices for the Light and Zero variations of Coke would be lower than the original version of the drink.

Zero sugar variants a little cheaper

This wouldn't only apply to Coca Cola, but also to other variants, such as Stoney Ginger Beer, Fanta, Sprite, etc.

One would often see the "healthier" option priced a little higher than the original variation, but the company has turned the tables.

"We are currently selling our zero sugar variants a little cheaper than our regular variants across our brand portfolio to encourage people to try the zero sugar offerings.

"We have a holistic strategy to reduce the overall sugar content across our portfolio of beverages over time. Some of this will be achieved through switching consumers from regular to zero sugar versions of our brands," company spokesperson for CCSA, Vukani Magubane, told Health24.

Smaller bottles

While the company has not embarked on a massive marketing and advertising campaign to make consumers aware of the changes, they do have posters in various retail stores where products are being sold and recently released a print media campaign for the Zero and Light variants.

Magubane added the company is in the process of reviewing all recipes and formulas for their regular products and reducing the sugar content in those recipes where it makes sense to do so.

In his presentation Ratshefola also mentioned the company had already started a project to decrease the volume of certain bottles – a new 440ml non-returnable bottle, may end up replacing the 500ml bottle.

Read more:

Why that Coke infographic is nonsense

Sugar tax: Thousands could lose their jobs, says Cosatu

Worries that ‘sugar tax’ is too low


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