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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