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Lower-carb Coke on the way
No. 1 soft-drink firm looks to take advantage of diet craze with C2.
April 19, 2004: 4:20 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Coca-Cola Co. said Monday it will launch a soft-drink with half the carbohydrates of traditional colas this summer as the world's largest soft-drink firm looks to capitalize on the low-carb diet craze.

"Consumers are the true architects of this idea," said Coke's (KO: Research, Estimates) CEO Doug Daft in a statement. "Coca-Cola C2 was created to specifically address their desire for a lower-calorie cola."

A Coca-Cola spokesman would not give specific dates for the roll-out of the new drink, but told Reuters it would appear in stores across the United States before the planned late summer launch of Pepsi Edge, PepsiCo Inc.'s (PEP: Research, Estimates) low calorie cola.

The Atlanta-based company said it will release Coca-Cola C2 first in Japan and then in the United States.

Industry newsletter Beverage Digest, which was first to report the roll-out of Coca-Cola C2 Monday, said the drink would make its U.S. debut on June 16. Coca-Cola C2 will arrive at a time when Coca-Cola is working feverishly to revitalize sluggish soft drink sales in North America, the largest and most important market for Coca-Cola and its nearest rival PepsiCo.

Over the past few years, Coca-Cola has broadened the scope of its flagship product with Vanilla Coke, Diet Coke with Lemon and Diet Coke with Lime.

It's also made a push into the non-carbonated sector with products like Dasani water, Minute Maid fruit juices and Powerade sports drinks.  Top of page

--Reuters contributed to this report

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