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Last Updated: Friday, 4 November 2005, 20:34 GMT
Coke ditches three flavours in US
Coca-Cola with lemon was introduced in 2001
Sales of Coke With Lemon have been squeezed recently
Global drinks giant Coca-Cola is to end sales of three flavours in the US by the end of 2005, after deciding to axe Vanilla Coke in the UK from early 2006.

Vanilla Coke, Vanilla Diet Coke and Diet Coke With Lemon are to be replaced by Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke and Black Cherry Vanilla Coke in the US.

Coke said cherry flavoured drinks sales were up, as were low-calorie ones.

The firm said Vanilla Coke, introduced in the US in 2002, and Diet Vanilla Coke in 2003, may return in future.

On Thursday Coca-Cola said it would end sales of the two vanilla flavoured drinks in the UK early next year, and replace them with Diet Coke With Cherry.

'What consumers want'

"With well over 250 million cases sold, Vanilla Coke and Diet Vanilla Coke have been significant contributors for three years," said Katie Bayne of Coca-Cola North America on Friday.

It is a rapidly changing beverage landscape and it is important for Coke to move quickly to deliver on what the consumer wants
Gary Hemphill, Beverage Marketing

"We are exploring ways to bring them back at another time, but right now Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke and Black Cherry Vanilla Coke are what consumers are telling us they want."

However she did not say if Diet Coke With Lemon, which has been on sale for four years, would be considered for a recall at some stage.

Analysts at Beverage Marketing research and consulting firm say that sales of Vanilla Coke slipped to 35 million unit cases in 2004 from 90 million unit cases in 2002.

And it says Vanilla Diet Coke sales fell to 13 million unit cases last year from 23 million unit cases two years ago.

Meanwhile, sales of Diet Coke With Lemon have fallen from 24 million unit cases in the year of its launch, to just 9.9 million in 2004.

'Competition intense'

"It is a rapidly changing beverage landscape and it is important for Coke to move quickly to deliver on what the consumer wants," said Gary Hemphill, managing director of Beverage Marketing.

"The competition for shelf space is intense."

In July, Coca-Cola saw an increase in its second quarter profits of 9%, on the back of strong sales in Mexico, China and other markets outside its US base.

The Atlanta, Georgia, firm said it earned $1.72bn in the three months to the end of June, compared to $1.58bn in the same period a year ago.

The world's largest soft drinks company had seen profits fall in the first quarter as North America sales slowed.


SEE ALSO:
Coca-Cola ends Vanilla Coke in UK
03 Nov 05 |  Business
Coca Cola sees profits rebound
21 Jul 05 |  Business
EU makes Coke throw open fridges
22 Jun 05 |  Business
Slow US sales hit Coke's profits
19 Apr 05 |  Business
Coca Cola pulls pipeline plans
24 Dec 04 |  Hereford/Worcs
Coke appoints new chief executive
04 May 04 |  Business


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