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Last Updated: Monday, 19 April, 2004, 22:30 GMT 23:30 UK
Coke cutting back on the calories
Coke cans
Coke's new C2 version will be halfway between regular and Diet
Coca-Cola is launching a half the sugar, half the calories version of its famous soft drink.

The new product, to be named Coca-Cola C2, will sit halfway between the fully loaded original and the sugar-free Diet Coke.

Coca-Cola chief executive Doug Daft said "customers were the true architects of this idea", which had been a year in the making.

The new version will be launched first in Japan, then the US, this summer.

"Coca-Cola C2 was created to specifically address their desire for a lower-calorie cola with that great Coca-Cola taste," Mr Daft added.

Cola wars

It follows after rival Pepsi announced the launch of a similar product - Pepsi Edge - also in the summer.

Some analysts believe both companies face a challenge to make the new products a success.

"There is an unblemished record of failure for products with half-measures," said Tom Pirko, president of consultancy Bevmark.

"You clutter your marketing and create confusion. It is an uphill slog no matter what you put in it."

Consumers, he added, usually just "expect an either/or proposition."

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