Woolworths' big blow for Coke's new product
Coca-Cola's new product, Coca-Cola No Sugar, won't see the light of day on Woolworths' shelves.
The softdrink giant launched the fourth sugar-free or low sugar version last month, following the 1982-developed Diet Coke, 2006's Coke Zero and this year's rebranded Coke with Stevia.
To make room for Coke No Sugar, Coca-Cola will dump its popular Coke Zero product.
Initially, both Coke No Sugar and Coke Zero will be available on shelves but the plan is to eventually phase out the older product.
But Woolworths said there just isn't enough room on the shelves for another product of a similar ilk.
"We have taken the decision to not range this product at this time," a spokesman told news.com.au.
"Our customers looking for a no sugar or low sugar cola option have ample choice already in the category across a range of different pack sizes and formats."
In contrast, Coles not only stocks Coke No Sugar but is actively promoting the brand.
Australians and New Zealanders will be among the first in the world to sample the new beverage, and consequently among the first to determine whether the new product lives up to the "classic taste" hype.
Woolworths confirmed they will continue to stock Coca-Cola Zero in their stores nationwide.
In fact, this could be part of the issue. Rather than Coca-Cola simply replacing Coke Zero with No Sugar, they have made the decision to run the two brands side-by-side for a time.
Both have red and black packaging and look almost identical. With shelf space at a premium, having two such similar drinks with the same brand may have been a step too far for Woolies.
In addition, consumers are increasingly turning to still and carbonated water as a thirst quenchers with sales booming and Mount Franklin the most popular brand. But don't feel too sorry for Coke - its Australian bottler Coca-Cola Amatil owns Mount Franklin.
Woolworths has left the door open for Coke No Sugar eventually being ranged - when Zero is actually axed.
Coca-Cola has not released sales data for its non-sugar variety. However it has said it is being rolled out to thousands of supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide.