Coke wants customers to realise that it is much more than its namesake soda.
The company announced Wednesday it will be begin selling a carbonated-version of the brand smartwater this month, reports the Wall Street Journal. The sparkling water will be available in some restaurants, hotels, and stores in New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami, with plans for a broader rollout next year.
The new sparkling water signals an important step in Coca-Cola’s plan for the future, which is less focused on soda and more on creating a diverse portfolio of beverages.
“When people think about our company, they naturally think about our flagship product in the sparkling category,” Coca-Cola CFO Kathy Walker said at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer and Retail Conference on Tuesday.
However, as Walker goes on to explain, the company is trying to be much more than just a soda seller.
Coca-Cola is the largest still beverage company in the world, making recent investments in brands including Monster Energy, coconut-water company ZICO, and organic-focused Suja Juice. Twenty-five per cent of Coca-Cola beverages worldwide are reduced-, low-, or no-calorie options.
This is not even the first sparkling water that Coca-Cola has launched. In March 2014, the company rolled out Dasani Sparkling nationwide.
The beverage industry as a whole is realising it is essential to expand beyond soda, as Americans’ concern for nutrition grows and consumption of soda shrinks.
In October, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi told investors that focusing solely on carbonated soft drinks was “a thing of the past.” Today, nearly half of Pepsi’s beverage sales are in low- or zero-calorie drinks, juice, or sports drinks.
PepsiCo is also experimenting with sparkling water, as the company plans to launch new flavored sparkling Aquafina waters in the US next year, reports the Wall Street Journal.
It looks like 2016 is shaping up to a battle of the soda giants trying to boost sales by focusing on sparkling beverages that are very different from the sodas that made them famous.
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