Coca-Cola puts new sweetener in U.K. Sprite

by Candice Choi

It's about to get difficult finding a can of regular Sprite in the United Kingdom.

Coca-Cola says it's replacing Sprite in the country with a version that uses the sweetener stevia and has 30 percent fewer calories. Sprite Zero, which doesn't have any calories, will also be available.

The change by the world's biggest beverage maker is in response to a government push calling on companies to address obesity. Coca-Cola already made a similar move with Sprite in France last year.

Stevia is a sweetener extracted from a plant of the same name. Food makers have been trying to use the non-caloric sweetener to reduce calories, but one hurdle has been masking its bitter aftertaste in some drinks.

Sprite is Coca-Cola's fifth most popular brand in the United Kingdom, after Coke, Diet Coke, Schweppes and Fanta.

The announcement came ahead of the airing of Coca-Cola's anti-obesity TV ad in the United Kingdom. That ad first aired in the United States in January amid increasing fire over the role sodas play in fueling obesity rates. Next week, for example, New York City is set to enact a first-in-the-U.S. ban on sugary drinks bigger than 16 ounces in restaurants, movie theaters and other venues.

In the Coca-Cola ad, a narrator notes that obesity "concerns all of us." It also explains that weight gain is the result of consuming too many calories of any kind—not just soda.

A Coca-Cola spokeswoman said the ad will roll out to other countries throughout the year, although she didn't yet have a list. She said the company is still exploring whether to bring the Sprite with stevia to the U.S.

But the company has already been experimenting with reduced-calorie versions of Sprite and Fanta that use stevia in select U.S. markets since this summer.

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Coca-Cola not to blame for US obesity: CEO

Jun 19, 2012

Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent insists his company is not responsible for the rise in US obesity despite New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's recent moves to limit the consumption of sugary drinks.

Recommended for you

We drink more alcohol on gym days

15 hours ago

A new Northwestern Medicine study finds that on days when people exercise more—typically Thursdays to Sundays—they drink more alcohol, too.

User comments