News Feature | March 14, 2014

Coca -Cola and Dr Pepper Snapple Struggle To Keep The "Sweet" Following New WHO Sugar Intake Guidelines

By Karla Paris

Coca -Cola and Dr Pepper Snapple Struggle Sugar

Soda bottlers must find sugar alternatives to maintain their bottom line

The battle to reduce sugar has hit the soda industry the hardest, as Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS) continue to witness soda sales decline.  Quarterly reports indicate just how bad things are going for bottlers. Coca-Cola announced its fourth-quarter numbers, and while overall global sales volume rose 1 percent, soda sales in the U.S. dropped 3 percent. For the quarter ended December 31, revenue fell 3.6 percent, coming in at $11.04 billion, below the $11.31 billion Wall Street expected. While DPS posted a net sales decrease of 1 percent for the fourth quarter and were flat for the full year.

Recently, the battle to reduce sugar intake took another step closer to war when the World Health Organization (WHO) drafted new guidelines for sugar intake.  The newly drafted guideline proposes that sugars should be reduced to below 5 percent of total energy intake per day.  With a total energy intake of only 5 percent it is equivalent to around 25 grams (around 6 teaspoons) of sugar per day for an adult of normal Body Mass Index (BMI).

The soda industry is attempting to regroup, as manufacturers become more aggressive in efforts to keep the “sweet” in their products while meeting new consumer health guidelines. Some manufacturers are actively experimenting and testing soda products that are hybrid sugar mixes. In fact, Coca-Cola is test marketing a naturally sweetened mid-calorie cola called Coke Life which is sweetened with a combination of sugar and stevia, has only 64 calories and 50 percent less sugar than Classic Coke.

Another soda manufacturer, DPS, recently announced it was also test marketing a sugar-stevia blend. Just like Coke Life, DPS’ sugar-stevia blend will be a naturally sweetened, 60 calorie beverage containing half the sugar.