Coca-Cola has launched a new “natural” and “healthy” soda line called Coca-Cola Life. Starting with a market test drive in Argentina this June, the soda company swapped out their iconic red color for a green sleeve and created a low-calorie and naturally sweetened drink that’s marketed as clean, fresh and natural. But are we really supposed to believe that Coca-Cola has gone green?
In an effort to follow consumer demand for environmentally friendly products, Coca-Cola Life was created as a natural and healthier alternative to regular Coke, with a 60% reduction in calories.
The key to Coca-Cola Life is the formula’s new blend of sugar and the no-calorie natural sweetener stevia, which is extracted from plants native to South America. And according to NPR’s Bob Mondello, even with the substantial caloric reduction, Coca-Cola Life tastes almost the same, if not a bit sweeter than regular Coke.
For the final green touch, the stevia-sweetened soda is sold in Coca-Cola’s “PlantBottle,” a fully recyclable bottle composed of 30% vegetable fiber.
But is Coca-Cola Life truly a sustainable product? Critics of PlantBottle say the product is misleading: bottle production requires excessive amounts of water and by creating a non-biodegradable product, Coca-Cola only exacerbates the landfill problem.
But although Coca-Cola Life might not be an ideal solution, it does show the company making an interesting attempt. Coca-Cola’s decisions are swayed by market demand and if consumers stay educated, critical and vocal, they have the purchasing power to demand more environmentally wholesome products. Whether or not Coca-Cola actually knows what such a thing is, is another matter.