It looks like “down-counting” has struck another product in the beverage industry. Fuze, the juice & tea beverage brand manufactured by Coca-Cola has reduced the liquid amount inside each bottle in addition to shrinking the bottle. The price remains unchanged yet there’s less liquid per bottle (8.5% fewer to be exact). There are also fewer calories in the new line-up, with 180 calories for Fuze, and only 20 calories for the Fuze Shape line of juices . What are some possible reasons behind the size and calorie reduction? Did people find that 547ml was just too much, whereas 500ml would be just the right size?
From a business perspective, this is not an uncommon move to save on product and packaging costs. Previous examples like the 591ml soft drinks and plain water, the 341ml non-carbonated beverages, and the 444ml premium energy drinks suggest that there is a minimal impact on business when size is only reduced slightly. And while there is no research to indicate that 547ml is an inefficient serving size, I suspect that this adjustment was motivated by calorie reduction in each serving. There were over 200 calories in each serving for the regular line of Fuze drinks when it was 547ml, while there are only 180 calories in each serving of the new Fuze drinks. This amounts to roughly a 15% calorie reduction. While consumers may not notice the smaller bottle, they may certainly notice the reduced calorie content – at least notice that there are less than 200 calories per serving. And 200 calories may be an artificial “calorie threshold” in the minds of health-conscious consumers, so this a subtle way to attract health-conscious consumers more than the cost savings of a smaller bottle and less liquid.
From a consumer perspective, the calorie reduction appears to be beneficial at first glance. The end users typically rely on manufacturers to tell them what are appropriate serving sizes, and the nutritional value associated with these sizes. Since the new line-up features less calories, there is one less thing for the user to worry about. On the other hand, the smaller serving sizes are still marketed at the old price point, so there may be some negative interpretation that this is just a business decision to increase corporate profitability.
In any case, both parties stands to benefit from this change. Fuze may make more money, but it’s still dependent on how the consumers react and whether this adjustment translates to identical or greater sales.