Green Tea Coca-Cola, Pepsi Shiso launches in Japan

Courtesy of Koji Sasahara / AP

Green tea-flavored Coca-Cola will hit Japanese stores June 8, Coca Cola (Japan) Co. spokesman Katsuya Sato said Thursday. It contains tea antioxidants called catechins, leaves a slight green tea aftertaste and is mainly targeted at health-conscious women in their 20s and 30s, Sato said.

“We wanted to cater to people who are looking for something that tastes good but is also good for health and beauty,” he said.

Coca Cola is the leader in Japan’s cola market but faces stiff competition from non-carbonated bottled drinks such as tea, coffee and fruit juices.

Rival Pepsi Cola is countering with another exotic cola — Japanese basil-flavored “Pepsi Shiso,” which hits stores in late June.

As with anything health-related, companies will jump on to the bandwagon with everything they’ve got.  There are low-fat fries, vitamin-enriched chips, and now healthier, green tea-flavored carbonated beverages.  It remains to be seen whether this green tea cola will be a limited time offering or something that becomes a mainstay.  Coca-Cola Japan probably should test this flavor out in the market as a limited time offering first (which they may be doing anyway) and then if feedback is positive keep it in production.

PepsiShiso, courtesy of www.tokyomango.comPepsi’s previous releases did not work too well in the Japanese market (first Cucumber Pepsi, then Blue Hawaiian Pepsi), so it remains to be seen if the Pepsi Shiso will do any better.

Notice that the Pepsi bottle still has the old logo?  The new logo is only in North America as this time, but over the next two years PepsiCo’s new logo will be on every bottle worldwide.  Apparently PepsiCo is slowly executing their identity transformation and will phase out the old logo internationally to minimize the loss of brand equity.  North American consumers travelling abroad the next two years will have to adjust to the classic Pepsi logo.  While international visitors to North American may be confused where their Pepsi beverages went and why it was replaced with something else (yipes!).

Also, BevWire will try to lobby for a orange or apple-flavored Coke or Pepsi.  Since those seem like pretty healthy fruits for people to consume, maybe the two beverage giants will try releasing their trademark beverages in one of these flavors.

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Vitaminwater Canada: Formula50 and Energy comes, Rescue goes

Formula50Vitaminwater recently added two more flavors to the Canadian market: Formula50 and Energy.  The Formula50 is grape-flavored and named after 50cent.  Energy is citrus-flavor and named after…energy?  Anyway, the American and Canadian market generally sees a difference in the marketing message on the bottle for each of these flavors of vitaminwater, but the Formula50’s message is the same.  BevWire has not found a bottle of Energy yet, so can’t quite say if the marketing message is the same for both U.S. and Canada.

Meanwhile, rumor has it that the green tea-flavored Rescue may be narrowed out of the Canadian market.  Maybe the Canadian market isn’t interested in green tea.  Or, there could be too many other flavors and choices available and Rescue just lost out to the other flavors.  Maybe Vitaminwater has finally found out that the proliferation of their flavors has reached its maximum number.  Or they are genuinely discontinuing this flavor, and will continue to release more flavors.  Let’s wait and see.