Coca-Cola is expanding its pursuit of sugar alternatives with the launch of two crowdsourcing challenges.
As the company seeks to keep pace with changing consumer trends and refresh its drinks portfolio, it has unveiled two sweetener campaigns on the HeroX platform.
It has called on researchers and scientists to find a naturally-sourced, low-calorie compound that creates the taste sensation of sugar when used in beverages and foods. One prize winner will be awarded $1 million in October 2018.
Furthermore, the Sweet Story Challenge invites people around the world to submit written anecdotes and videos about their favourite methods of naturally sweetening foods or beverages in their cultures, communities or families. Up to five individual or team winners will compete for $100,000 in prize money, with winners announced in December.
Coca-Cola innovation officer Robert Long said: “We’re always searching for newer, better ingredients, and we know that amazing ideas can come from anywhere.
“These two challenges are very much rooted in our desire to make the drinks our consumers want to drink, and in our willingness to look beyond the walls of our company for breakthrough sugar alternatives that help us deliver the great taste people love but with less sugar and fewer calories.”
The project is led by Coca-Cola’s External Technology Acquisition Team, which explores and invests in emerging ingredients, packaging materials and beverage production technologies.
Earlier this year, Coca-Cola announced plans to reshape its growth strategy and operating model in line with changing consumer tastes and buying habits.
James Quincey, who became CEO in May, said the company will focus on driving revenue by building consumer-centric brands, including more low-sugar options and drinks in emerging categories. This shift, Quincey said, demands a willingness to take risks and pursue new ways of working and innovating.
“As we expand our portfolio, we are embracing a test and learn mentality,” he said during Coke’s second quarter earnings call in July.
“We’re seeing what consumers want and making adjustments immediately. Because at the end of the day, speed and agility are critical in this rapidly changing consumer landscape.”
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