Coca-Cola has pulled a cola with a third less sugar than its regular product, a year after BuzzFeed News reported sales of the new drink had fallen.
Coke Life, which was launched in September 2014, is made with a blend of sugar and natural sweeteners derived from a South American plant. It will be pulled from UK shelves in June, the company confirmed, but will remain in sale in 30 other markets worldwide.
Coke Life, which comes in a green can, was the first new product launched under the Coca-Cola brand since Coke Zero in 2006, and was launched with a big marketing push.
The company said Coke Life had "built a loyal and niche following", accounting for just under 1% of Coca-Cola trademark sales, and had only been available in a selected number of outlets.
It was developed by the cola giant to tap into the trend for alternatives to soft drinks that had high amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners like aspartame. But it would appear it failed to excite consumers enough.
A spokesperson did not answer specific questions related to whether poor sales had fuelled its decision to axe the brand, but in 2015, BuzzFeed News revealed that the drink had seen sales decline in almost every month in 2015.
In November 2015, Coca-Cola Life sales were at £1.1 million – a 72% drop from October 2014 after launch, according to data available from global market insight company IRI. In January 2016, the company said the brand was worth £35 million in sales since launch. It is not clear what sales performance had been since. Coke Zero Sugar has, by contrast, accounted for £115 million of sales since it was reformulated in June 2016.
Asked whether the axing of Coke Life would impact the company's commitment to offering healthier, lower-sugar alternatives to classic Coke, a spokesperson said it was accelerating investment in Coke Zero and that sales of the no-sugar drink had increased.
"For the first time ever, sales of no sugar Coca-Cola (Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke) are matching those of Coca-Coca Classic," the company said.