Two years after the time since its US introduction, Green Cola — the stevia-sweetened and zero-calorie soda brand is aiming to establish new retail outlets to be able to compete with the likes of Diet Coke as well as Diet Pepsi.
Green Cola is about to mark its 10th anniversary. beginning with its own market in Greece before expanding to more than forty countries in Europe as well as in the Middle East by 2016.
In the year 2019 the company began exploring the US market that was bigger and competitive from a category perspective however, The carbonated soda it also offered a variety of potential for Green Cola said Manos Eleftheriou who is the managing director of Green Cola North America LLC who was employed by both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo in managerial positions throughout his career.
“The limits of what’s a juice and what’s a seltzer as well as what’s an carbonated soft drinks on the US are blurred that there’s lots of space for us to experiment in various categories and satisfy diverse requirements,” Eleftheriou told FoodNavigator-USA at the Natural Products Expo West Show in Anaheim, California, last week.
“The possibility I believe lies in the fact that US consumer is willing to sacrifice flavor for health and wellbeing. Seltzer is fantastic, but it’s dull and there’s no flavor to it. The goal of the drink is to instill the great memories of an authentic soft drink, but without it’s guilt.”
Green Cola uses Reb M Steviol glycosides that sweeten its product. It is made of green coffee beans for caffeine along with natural flavors, while remaining free of common ingredients in diet sodas like potassium benzoate, phosphoric acid and citric acid.
“Our main reason for our the success of our product is that we have invested nearly two decades attempting to find the right blend of natural flavors and Stevia. We’re constantly working with suppliers of stevia to develop the most up-to-date and most delicious Stevia,” said Eleftheriou.
Since its entry into in the US market in the year 2020, Green Cola has gained distribution at more than 1300 stores across 17 states, such as Market Basket, Whole Foods Northeast, HEB, Stop and Shop, United Supermarkets, Meijer, Hannaford Supermarket, New Seasons, and HyVee. Green Cola is also available across the country through Amazon as well as on Walmart.com.
“Ideally when I speak to retailers, I would like to go into the aisle of soda not the aisle for specialty items. It is evident once we step to the right aisle, our speeds are 10 times faster than any other,” noted Eleftheriou.
Do you have a need for soda that is sweetened with stevia?
The launch of a stevia-sweetened cola isn’t a new idea and was acknowledged by Eleftheriou. Coca-Cola has launched an stevia-cane hybrid sugar sweetened cola drink, Coca Life, in 2014 that was taken off the market three years later due to a lackluster response and a higher demand for its other zero-calorie item, Coca-Cola Zero.
“It wasn’t a fully baked idea. It was made up of 50 percent stevia and 50 percent cane sugar. It was 150 calories as well as 15 grams sugar per can. This gave mixed signals to the customer, and it did not work globally,” said Eleftheriou.
So what is it that makes Green Cola believe it can achieve where others have failed, or in the same direction as Zevia that generated $34.2m of net revenue in the year that ended which was up 23% over 2020?
“Zevia’s a solid player, and they’ve been doing lots of work informing consumers about the benefits of stevia. I think we’re actually complementary to their offerings They’re extremely strong in ginger ale as well as the root beers,” explained Eleftheriou. He believes that Green Cola offers a better product that better replicates the complete drinking experience right up to the caramel-colored color in the liquid (as contrast to Zevia’s transparent formula).
Alongside its initial Coca product the company is focusing on expanding its distribution of its cherry, orange, and lemonade SKUs. Eleftheriou believes could be the best performers within the Zero-Calorie soda category because of their full-flavored flavor.
“For every can of cherries we’ve had the equivalent of eight cherries, and for each lemonade can, we’ve had the equivalent of a full lemonade,” he said.
US market push
The main goal of Green Cola in 2022 is to expand into brick-and-mortar stores on a national scale, and to push the consumer to try new products while also re-engaging those who haven’t bought an energy drink in more than 10 years, he said.
“Now the situation is coming back to normal We need to begin looking into big-name retailers,” said Eleftheriou, who said the company is working on expanding it’s DSD system to allow for massive growth.
“We’re placing a lot of money into the US currently however we must start to see some positive returns in the coming months.”