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U.S. Introduction Of Japanese Blended Tea Surpasses Coca-Cola’s Expectations

February 10, 2011: 10:32 AM EST
Coca-Cola Co. has introduced in the U.S. a modified version of an unsweetened Japanese blended tea originally targeted at the women’s health-and-beauty market in Japan. Sokenbicha is being tested without fanfare at Whole Foods Market – where a 15.2 oz. bottle sells for $1.99 – as a no-calorie alternative to plain water. Coca-Cola reformulated the original 15-ingredient Japanese version of the drink to eliminate some exotic components – like the herb lizard’s tail – that bothered U.S. regulators. The 17-year-old Sokenbicha is the blended-tea market leader in Japan, where the category represents four percent of the non-alcoholic beverage market. Coke said Sokenbicha sales through Whole Foods have exceeded expectations, but has not revealed whether it plans to expand distribution.
Chester Dawson and Valerie Bauerlein, "Coke Tests Health-Tea Waters", wsj Online, February 10, 2011, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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