Will Orange Vanilla Coke bring more sunshine to soda sales?

Coca-Cola will release its first new flavours in more than a decade — Orange Vanilla Coke and Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar — on Feb. 25. According to Coca-Cola, it took less than a year to bring these flavours from concept to testing to launch. Company testing indicated more than half of consumers who sampled the new flavours said they would buy them in addition to Coca-Cola Classic.

Raspberry, lemon and ginger were also considered as potential flavours, but coca cola wanted to bring back positive memories of carefree summer days and that is why they leaned into the orange-vanilla flavour combination — which is reminiscent of the creamy orange popsicles we grew up loving, but in a classically Coke way.

Citing a desire to “satisfy a variety of changing tastes and lifestyles — and moving quickly and taking smart risks to bring more drinks to market, Coca-Cola is working diligently to reinvigorate the soda space as consumers continue to migrate away from artificial flavours and sweeteners in favour of beverages that are perceived as healthier such as tea, water, and coffee.

So far, the company’s efforts to introduce new flavours onto shelves has paid off. Diet Coke’s overhaul has translated into strong sales — and even growth — in a time when the entire soda category is in decline. The soda company posted retail dollar sales growth for the last four quarters following at least five years of declines, according to Nielsen data. Part of this success is because consumers who try one of the new flavours are more likely to reach for original Cokes and purchase them as well.

The only risk that these novel flavours present is the inherent fact that they are novel. Once consumers have moved on from the latest flavour craze, Coca-Cola may find itself back at the drawing board working to rediscover what tastes make their target demographic tick — a labour-intensive and potentially expensive proposition. And that may prompt the company to rethink its strategy on how to lure consumers back to soda.

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