Tuesday May 15, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Coca-Cola Co. is giving mid-calorie sodas another try, this time with Sprite and Fanta.

The Atlanta-based company says it will test a "Sprite Select" and "Fanta Select" this summer that will have about half the calories of regular. The drinks will be made with a blend of sugar and other sweeteners, including Truvia and erythritol. The tests will take place in a limited number of stores in Atlanta, Detroit, Louisville, Ky. and Memphis, Tenn.

Scott Williamson, a spokesman for Coca-Cola, noted that there are no plans for a national rollout yet.

The new formulas will both have 70 calories per a 12-ounce can. A can of regular Sprite by contrast has 140 calories and a can of regular Fanta has 160 calories.

PepsiCo Inc. earlier this year also launched its Pepsi Next, which has about half the calories of regular. But Coca-Cola’s new drinks are different because they use what are considered natural sweeteners, said John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest, which first reported on the tests.

Truvia is made from a plant and erythritol is a sugar alcohol. Pepsi Next, by contrast, uses a mix of high fructose corn syrup and three artificial sweeteners that were used in past diet sodas.

"This is a different kind of product -- it’s a mid-calorie drink made with all-natural sweeteners," Sicher said.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have tried mid-calorie drinks in the past. In 2001, Coke rolled out "C2" and Pepsi in 2004 introduced its "Pepsi Edge.


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" Both were taken off the market because of poor sales.