Lucozade serves up calorie-free Zero range amid sugar furore

Lucozade has responded to the newly announced sugar tax agenda with the launch of a calorie-free range named Zero, which will be backed by a £5m campaign.

The new drink will be available in two flavours, Orange and Pink Lemonade, and Lucozade said the new range is "driven by the nation's changing health agenda".

More than half of the soft drinks market (57 per cent) is now low calorie or calorie-free.

The range will be supported by a consumer media campaign and there will be retail support across independents and grocery including point of sale material and display units.

Commenting on the launch, Lucozade Energy senior brand manager, Charlotte Flook, said: “We are really excited to be launching this innovative new drink. Lucozade Zero offers people the chance to enjoy two of their favourite flavours with lower calories. This new launch is another way that Lucozade Ribena Suntory is delivering on its ambition to reduce calories across its portfolio by 20 per cent.”

The launch chimes with Lucozade owner Suntory Beverage and Food's attempt to drive greater awareness of its Ribena brand, where it plans to push sampling of its no added sugar alternatives to exploit the shift toward healthier lifestyles.

“60 per cent of people are aware that we have a ‘light’, no added sugar blackcurrant drink but only 30 per cent of the population have tried it," Ribena’s marketing director, Georgina Thomas told The Drum.

"Once we get the drink in people’s hands, there’s a huge repeat rate and the issue is that they’re just not aware that we produce it. When we do blind taste tests it actually outperforms the Blackcurrant original flavour,” she said – pointing to the fact that healthier messaging lies ahead for the brand.

The sugar levy is aimed at high-sugar drinks, particularly fizzy drinks, with fruit juice and milk-based drinks exempt.

Yesterday the chief executive of Irn Bru maker AG Barr also stated new plans to “substantially” reduce the portfolio’s sugar content.

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