Coke Testing Reformulated Fresca Drink

Coca-Cola USA, in a bid to compete with a similar product sold by Pepsico Inc., said Thursday that it is test marketing a reformulated Fresca soft drink that contains 1% real fruit juice and is 100% sweetened with NutraSweet.

The test marketing of the reformulated soft drink in the Boston and Providence, R.I., areas, comes about a year after Purchase, N.Y.-based Pepsico introduced Pepsi Slice, a lemon-lime soft drink containing 10% fruit juice.

Pepsi officials said Thursday that, although Slice has only 75% national distribution, it has captured about 3% to 4% of the soft-drink market where it is available.


Coca-Cola officials could not be reached late Thursday for figures on Fresca’s market share or sales.

Since last spring, Coca-Cola has maintained a high marketing profile, first by discontinuing its 99-year-old flagship cola last April and then--under pressure from disgruntled consumers--resurrecting the old formula as Coca-Cola Classic to join a new flagship brand, Coke, in restaurants and on supermarket shelves.

Unlike those colas that are primarily targeted at the youth market, however, Coke’s grapefruit-flavored Fresca soft drink, first introduced in 1966, is being aimed at “energetic, health-conscious adults,” a Coca-Cola official said.

Brian G. Dyson, senior vice president of Coca-Cola and president of its domestic unit, said the new Fresca will be offered as a low-calorie alternative to other soft drinks as well as sparkling waters, light wines and wine coolers.

Meanwhile, PepsiCola USA announced Thursday that Wendy’s International will serve regular Slice at its 1,050 company-owned fast-food restaurants.