Coca-Cola has actually done it, launching a “natural” Coke called Coca-Cola Life in Argentina.
Like the so-called “Mexican Coke” that comes in glass bottles and contains real sugar, instead of high-fructose corn syrup, Coca-Cola Life is being marketed as a healthier substitute with more eco-friendly packaging.
‘Coca-Cola Life’ is said to be an all-natural, low-calorie soda packaged in a fully-recyclable plant-based bottle. The drink is made with a mixture of sugar and stevia-based substitute, and contains two times less the calories than regular Coke. The all organic sugar drink is launched in Argentina, with total world domination soon to follow.
In addition to the type of sweeteners and bottle material, the marketing imagery for Coca-Cola Life also comes equipped with all the requisite accoutrements of a “green” or greenwashed product. From the earth-tone colors of the logo and consistent use of green, outdoor settings, it is clear Coca-Cola is trying to show this product as having a closer connection with nature and the environment. Even the wooden “antique” bottle cases harken back to an earlier, healthier era for the soda industry (at least, healthier in the sense that it was before the high-fructose corn syrup era).
There are myriad health reasons to not drink beverages that contain a lot of sugar, so I won’t spend time talking about that, but I do want to say that in a way, products like this are a sign that the movement to a healthier society and more sustainable economy is making progress. If the voices calling for change weren’t being heard, nothing would change. As annoying as it can be to some to see the imagery of “green living” co-opted by a major brand, another way of looking at this is that when a corporation as large as Coca-Cola feels the consumer pressure and sees the business opportunity, in creating greener plastics, less caloric and less sugary drinks and wants to be seen as closer to nature, that means that the pressure placed on these companies is working.