The new Coca Cola Life sweetened with Stevia / COCA COLA

Coca Cola Life has a third less sugar and fewer calories than normal Coke

US drinks giant Coca Cola is launching its first coke drink in the UK in more than eight years and has picked Britain ahead of its home nation.

Coca Cola Life, a drink sweetened with stevia which has a third less sugar and a third fewer calories than normal Coca Cola, will launch in September. It trialled the drink in Chile and Argentina and the UK launch is the first in Europe.

Its last big launch was back in 2005/2006 with the Coke Zero brand – which was its largest product launch in 22 years.

The stevia sweetener, extracted from a South American leaf, gained European approval in 2011 and is being used in a variety of products to reduce calories. Coca Cola said it already uses it in Sprite and its Glacéau vitaminwater.

The group said more than 40 per cent of the coke it sells in the UK is already no-calorie. It sells 21 brands and over 100 products across Britain.

James Quincey, president Coca-Cola Europe, said: “With Coca-Cola Life, we have innovated to provide consumers with a new option with fewer calories. We were early signatories to the UK Government’s Responsibility Deal.”

Most of Coca Cola’s UK products are made in Britain in one of its factories in East Kilbride, Edmonton, Wakefield and Sidcup.

Last month the group revealed it will sell a new bottled water - glacéau smartwater -  a decade after its disastrous Dasani purified water brand had to be pulled following poor sales.