Stevia, white sugar, raw sugar, equal?

(18 /06 /2015)

Have you seen the ads for Coke Life? Coca-Cola Australia said Coke Life is “a 35 per cent less sugar and 35 per cent lower kilojoule formulation” of Coca-Cola, containing 68 calories/285kjs per 250mL serving. The product was developed in response to growing consumer demand for a product that had fewer kilojoules and was sweetened from ‘natural’ sources.

The reduced sugar component is achieved by using a combination of sugar and stevia. Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana plant, a member of the Chrysanthemum plant family (a native plant of Paraguay).

What? I understand the growing interest in all things natural but up until 2008*, Stevia was only available to be sold in dietary items so why the sudden change in heart now and is the market really ready for it?

Over the last few months I have watched the introduction of Coke Life, I have then seen it sit on the shelf and then the discounts started, the product placement in the supermarket changed and the catalogue sales and advertising increase.  Coke Life is not doing what Coke thought it would.  There has been a slow up take on the product? Why? Is it taste?  Is it branding? Or is that consumers simply don’t have enough information about stevia and its affects?

Jumping on the trend bandwagon may not always pay off. Remember that understating your target market and satisfying their needs is the core of any successful business, don’t just assume that because the big companies are doing it that it would be a great move for you.

Go back to your basics – who are my target market, what do they actually want and need and how can I provide it in a unique, interesting and tasty way? Perhaps before you reinvent you menu and add the latest trends you see what the customer wants – conduct a survey, get your staff to engage in conversation when they are serving or ask these questions on social media.  Research, research, research!  There are plenty of ‘in the moment’ success stories but for longevity you need to also have your business hat on.



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