Coca-Cola plans massive rebrand to arrest declining sales

They're also set to push Coke Zero’s sugar-free selling point ahead of Britain's new sugar tax...

Coca-Cola plans massive rebrand to arrest declining sales

Nick Ansell / PA

Coca-Cola is reporting that its sales have fallen for the fourth straight quarter, with demand for its beverages dropping in Europe.

Other non-US markets such as China and Latin America also took a hit due to the strong dollar.

Today's results met market expectations and mean that the company's revenues have fallen during 12 of the last 13 quarters. Its net income fell by 5% to $1.48bn, or 34 cents a share.

Shares fell 1% to $46 in premarket trading on Wednesday.

The news is in line with a trend of fizzy drinks’ falling popularity, with Coca-Cola and chief rival Pepsi hurting as consumers turn to juices, smoothies and teas for their health benefits.

Sales of Coca-Cola's non-carbonated properties grew by 7% during the quarter while soda sales were stagnant.

In recent years, it has bought a number of brands including Zico coconut water and Honest Tea.

Coca-Cola is now planning to makeover its products to give them a uniform feel in line with the original “real thing” soda.

Diet Coke, Coke Life and Coke Zero will get regular-looking cans and bottles, each bearing that familiar “red disc” so they do not feel as much like separate brands. 

The one-brand look hits Mexican shelves next month, while options are still being tested in the US.

Across the Irish Sea, Coke Zero will be renamed “Coca-Cola Zero Sugar” from June to highlight it sugar-free nature, in what is Coca-Cola Great Britain’s largest product launch for a decade.

The flavour will be “new and improved” to go with the branding, and promises to look and taste “more like Coke” than the original Zero product.

Jon Woods, Coca-Cola Great Britain’s general manager, said: “Since 2012 our commercial strategy has focused on accelerating the growth of our no-sugar options. We know that millions of people love the taste of Coca-Cola and have been working to refine the recipe of Coca-Cola Zero to match the taste of the original – but without sugar.’’

The British government announced plans to introduce a sugar tax on soft drink from 2018.