KENYA – Soda maker Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) plans to introduce its sugar-free range of Fanta Zero in Kenya next month, expanding its healthy drinks portfolio on the market, reports Business Daily.

It follows successful launch of Sprite Zero, Stoney Zero and Coke Zero in the market where an increasing number of consumers are turning to drinks offering less sugar.

“We will be bringing Fanta Zero in two weeks completing the range of Zero sugar soft drinks already available in Kenya,” said CCBA managing director Daryl Wilson.

The diversification strategy includes the recent introduction of its milk-juice blend under the Minute Maid range.

According to Daryl, the water range has also been diversified to include flavoured sparkling water and this will be expanded in the near future to include flavoured still water.

Targeting the health-conscious

This is in line with the global Coca-Cola Company’s strategy to become a Total Beverage Company by reshaping its growth model given changing consumer tastes and buying habits.

CCBA has been diversifying to include juice beverages to its portfolio.

The company inaugurated a US$69 million hot-fill juice line in Kenya to process fresh juices, iced teas and sports drinks.

The hot-fill rules out the need for preservatives, some of which are placed under debate on their safety and health implications.

Coca-Cola is listening to the growing consumer demand for natural preservatives, a step it is taking through partial substitutions.

“We are evolving our recipes to offer drinks that provide benefits like nutrition and hydration; and reduction of sugar by reformulating the sugar content in some of our products,” said Coca-Cola.

In July, the carbonated drinks firm launched lemon-flavoured drink dubbed Schweppes +C, enriched with Vitamin C targeting mature and health-conscious niche in the market.

Global soda sales are falling, and the company is banking on innovation and diversification of its soft drinks products in the country to grow sales.

In Kenya, Coca-Cola invested US$91.7 million in its production and packaging lines to cater for the new brands alongside its mainstay soda, juice and water products in 2016 and 2017.

The company said its investments in Kenya have included US$85 million in infrastructure and US$44 million in distribution over the past five years.