DIY version prompts Coca-Cola to float vanilla-flavoured real thing

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Coca-cola is thought to be developing secret plans for a vanilla-flavoured version of the world's favourite soft drink to put some much-needed fizz into sales.

Industry experts say competition from rival drinks has left Coca-Cola flat in the all- important American market for its carbonated caramel drink despite increased advertising. Executives at the multinational are believed to think the solution might lie in a sweet, DIY version of its product, which has been proving popular in the United States.

American diners in cafés and restaurants often ask staff to add a shot of vanilla syrup to Coke, or similarly sweet flavours such as raspberry and chocolate.

Vanilla cola would be the biggest launch of a new Coca-Cola product since the disastrous launch of New Coke in 1985. The firm hastily reverted to the 99-year-old taste formula after the new recipe provoked an outcry in America.

Beverage Digest, a fortnightly American newsletter covering the global drinks industry, has published an article in which a bottler states the Vanilla Coke innovation is "90 per cent certain". John Sicher, editor and publisher of the newsletter, said he believed there was a strong possibility that the company was working on launching the drink and that he had heard rumblings of its plans in autumn last year.

"Innovation and new products are driving growth in the US and I believe that there is a strong chance that Coke will introduce a vanilla-flavoured version of Coke classic," Mr Sicher said. "New products are becoming an important component of an overall marketing strategy because they create news and excitement."

He predicted the new line would be a success, as was its fruit-flavoured predecessor, Cherry Coke, which was launched in the 1980s.

He based his analysis on the recent success of a lemon- flavoured version of Diet Coke, which was marketed successfully last year.

Mr Sicher said the move would not open the floodgates to multiple flavoured drinks from Coca-Cola because the company characteristically launched new lines slowly and modestly. Coca-Cola has refrained from confirming or denying the plans, instead saying a number of lines are "in development".