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Health

Coca-Cola takes on competitors with new sugar-free beverages

Victor Getenya
From left- Coca Cola sales and marketing Director CCBA Kenya, Victor Getenya, Coca Cola Portfolio Lead Nutrition and Hydration lead ECAF, Nelly Wanaina and Coca Cola marketing manager East and Central Africa Reinaldo Padua during the launch three new products into the Kenya market on July 3, 2019 at Coca Cola offices in Nairobi. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU  

Soft drinks maker Coca-Cola has launched four new beverages targeting sportspeople and the health conscious as it grapples with consumers turning away from its sugary drinks.

This is as it steps up competition in the local beverages market.

The new products include Coke plus Coffee, Minute Maid Nutridefenses and Powerade, a soft drink targeting sports people. They also include a sugarless portfolio of Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite and Stoney drinks.

Coca- Cola head of marketing in Kenya and Tanzania Nelly Wainaina said the new products are part of the firm’s efforts to offer more consumer options and control sugar consumption.

The firm had in January revealed a product diversification plan with a key focus on an increasingly health-conscious consumer.

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“With innovation at the core of our new business strategy, we will be able to create more opportunities for use of local ingredients and other inputs.

“We also need to encourage and enable our consumers to control added sugar consumption,” Mrs Wainaina told Business Daily.

She added that the products will also be launched in neighbouring Uganda and South Africa in the next two weeks.

The multinational is faced with a global trend that has seen customers shift from its flagship drinks at a time when nutritionists have linked consumption of sugar with lifestyle diseases such as diabetes.

Coca-Cola says it has invested Sh9.3 billion in its production and packaging lines to cater for the new brands alongside its mainstay soda, juice and water products in 2016 and 2017.

The American-owned firm remains the biggest maker of soft drinks in the country despite stiff competition from Kevian Kenya — maker of Afia and Pick N’ Peel juice — and Bidco Africa Group that launched its Reaktor energy drink last year.

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