Coke launches new flavor to bring in customers

The new drink will beat shelves later this month. It's a way of encouraging customers seeking more variety to stick to cola than picking up another soda, says Kate Carpenter, Coca-Cola brand director, which includes Coke, Coke Zero and flavored coke.

The beverage company decided to add and renew its tasting tasks – Cherry Coke, Cherry Coke Zero, Vanilla Coke and Vanilla Coke Zero – after the successful launch of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar last year, Carpenter said. The new flavor also comes in a Zero Sugar version.

The drinking company introduces new graphics on cherry and vanilla packages for a "bit of a face lift," she said.

When Coke decided to pursue a new taste, Carpenter's team scanned Coke's international market for ideas. They considered some opportunities, including raspberries, lemon and ginger, which work well for the company in Asia.

Orange Vanilla Coke, who was available for a limited time in Canada last summer, received his attention. They tested the taste in the American market, where it was well received.

Consumers said the flavor was "unique and different in the flavored cola category", dominated by cherries, Carpenter said. Most importantly, they also said they would buy it in addition to a regular cola, instead of replacing it. And the taste, though "unexpected", was still "familiar", she said.

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Coca-Cola has experimented with many flavors for Diet Coke, the zero-calorie core drink. This is the first new flavor to Coke since 2007. At that time, the company solved the new Vanilla Coke – which was originally launched in 2002 and was phased – including flavors.
Coca-Cola's new flavors have not always been a hit. People maintained famously when the company changed the Coca-Cola recipe in 1985 and introduced New Coke. The company quickly returned to its original recipe.

The drinking company also experimented with Black Cherry Vanilla Coke and a coffee flavor called Coca-Cola Blak.

The best cooking flavors are those that complement or enhance the original recipe, said Laurent Grandet, a consumer analyst with Guggenheim Securities.

New flavors, he added, are a way to drum up the brand.

"It's about raising awareness," he said.

A line extension gives a product more space on the dealer shelves. And flavors are usually not discounted, so Coca-Cola can increase its margins by selling tasty versions of the product, he said.

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