Coca-Cola UK redesigns Zero Sugar packaging to look like the original Coke

Coca-Cola Great Britain has revamped the packaging of its Coke Zero Sugar to look more like the original drink.

From September, the no-sugar Coke bottles and cans will be in the company's distinctive red and white and will feature a black strip across the top stating "zero sugar, no calories."

Currently, the Zero Sugar cans feature the white Coke logo on a red circle against a black background, a design it has used since 2016, but these changes mean the two versions will look much more similar. Before 2016, Coke Zero cans had an all-black background.

The changes form part of a drive for the brand to sell more no-sugar drinks; currently, 58 percent of Coca-Cola branded soda sold in Great Britain has no sugar. "The changes unify both variants with the iconic Coca-Cola red and form part of the company's commercial strategy to encourage more people to try Coca-Cola Zero Sugar," the company said in an online statement.

Coke Zero's new design, to launch in the UK in September, and the original Coke variant
Coca-Cola GB
Coke Zero's new design, to launch in the UK in September, and the original Coke variant

The firm's second-quarter earnings beat analyst expectations, helped by its diet drinks' push, and Zero Sugar reported double-digit volume growth.

Britain's sugar tax on sodas came into effect in April. Drinks with more than eight grams per 100 milliliters are now taxed at the equivalent of 24 pence (31 cents) a liter. The Coca-Cola Company and other beverage firms reformulated some sodas ahead of the tax, but Coke's classic cola did not change.

Obesity is rising in England with 58 percent of women and 68 percent of men classed as overweight or obese in 2015, according to official statistics. Government body Public Health England welcomed the tax on sodas when it was announced in 2016 in the light of the risks of "obesity, tooth decay and other life-threatening diseases."

Pallets of Coke-Cola Zero cans wait to the filled at a Coco-Cola bottling plant in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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Pallets of Coke-Cola Zero cans wait to the filled at a Coco-Cola bottling plant in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Coca-Cola Company is pushing the fact that it sells more than its best-known brand Coke, as part of a "total beverage" strategy. In November 2017, it advertised its portfolio of drinks on its Times Square billboard in New York City with the line "We are Coca-Cola and so much more." The company has already launched an iced tea and a non-dairy drink in the U.K., and is set to bring its Honest Coffee cold beverage to the country next month, all of which will not be subject to the tax.

Alec Mellor, Coca-Cola marketing manager, said of the Zero version's new design: "For more than 130 years, the color red has been associated with the great taste and experience of enjoying a Coca-Cola and we want to make it even clearer that you can have that taste and experience with or without sugar."