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NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola is taking bottled water and doing what it does best — giving it some bubbles and flavor.
The Atlanta-based company confirmed Monday that it would introduce a line of zero-calorie, carbonated, fruit-flavored waters called “Fruitwater” starting April 1. The drink will be part of Coca-Cola’s Glaceau unit, which makes other pricier bottled waters such as Vitaminwater and Smartwater.
Unlike the zero-calorie version of Vitaminwater, which is made with the natural sweetener stevia, Fruitwater will be sweetened with the artificial sweetener sucralose, best known as Splenda. It will not contain any fruit juice but the bottle notes that the drink is “enhanced with nutrients,” a reference to its B vitamins, magnesium and zinc.
The rollout was first reported by the trade journal Beverage Digest.
Such an “unsoda,” fizzy and sweetened but packaged like bottled water, could lure people who are looking for an alternative to sugary carbonated drinks. Soft drink consumption has slid in the U.S. since the late 1990s. The decline has been attributed to growing concerns about obesity, as well as the proliferation of options such bottled teas and flavored waters.
Industry executives have nevertheless expressed optimism about sparking a turnaround in the soft drink category with better-tasting, lower-calorie options, noting that Americans love fizzy drinks.