New Coca-Cola Life Targets Health-Conscious Crowd

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Seeking to cater to more health-conscious consumers, beverage giantCoca-Cola ( KO ) recently unveiled a new concoction dubbed Coca-Cola Life.

The healthier alternative, which comes in green and white packaging, has few calories and is sweetened with a combination of sugar and stevia leaf extract. Diet Coke and Coke Zero are both sweetened with aspartame, an artificial sweetener.

A 330-milliliter (11.16 ounces) can of Coca-Cola Life has 89 calories compared to 140 calories in a 12-ounce can of regular Coke. Both Diet Coke and Coke Zero are calorie-free.

Coca-Cola Life is marketed to consumers 35 to 55 years old who are seeking a lower-calorie cola made with natural sweeteners. The product is already available in Chile and Argentina. Coca-Cola Life will hit store shelves in Britain in September. There's no date yet for a U.S. launch.

Coca-Cola's new drink comes at a time when demand for soda continues to struggle. Soda consumption fell 3% last year, according to the Beverage Digest, the ninth straight annual drop. Coca-Cola's sales have fizzled for five straight quarters. Earnings in the first quarter slipped 4%, which was the first downturn in six quarters.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters see Coke's full-year profit rising a penny to $2.09 a share. Growth of 7% is expected in 2015.

Despite lackluster results recently, Coca-Cola has continued to dole out higher dividends to shareholders. In February, the company bumped up its quarterly dividend to 30.5 cents a share from 28 cents. Coca-Cola has paid a quarterly dividend since 1920 and has raised it the past 52 years.

At the revised rate, the company pays $1.22 a share on an annualized basis. This works out to a yield of about 3%. It has one of the highest yields among the 10 dividend-paying stocks in IBD's soft drinks industry group.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Personal Finance , Investing Ideas

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