Coca-Cola trials sweet, fizzy, milky ‘vibrancy’ drink in three US cities

Soft drinks giant launches new Vio drink in New York but no word yet on whether it will reach the UK

Vio is being tested in New York

Vio is being trialled in three US cities. Photograph: Vio

It may not quite sound the real thing but consumers are being asked to decide whether milk goes better with sparkling water, cane sugar and fruit flavouring.

Coca-Cola is trialling a new carbonated “vibrancy” drink and it will depend on Americans’ tastebuds whether other countries experience what the company claims is “a refreshing sensory experience”.

The soft drinks giant has so far launched its new Vio products only in New York, but milk-based products are popular in Asian markets such as Hong Kong and Japan.

The new offering, which has “a hint” of skimmed milk, comes in four flavours – citrus burst, peach mango, tropical colada and very berry – and is being sold in 8oz aluminium bottles for the equivalent of £1.50.

The company says it has “a delicious, unique and smooth flavour”, with no artificial flavours, preservatives or sweeteners and offers 15% of daily calcium intake and antioxidant vitamin C.

There is, however, no hint yet of whether or when it is coming to Britain. “The launch of Vio in the US is an exciting development for consumers there,” said a spokesperson for Coca-Cola GB. “We are constantly listening to consumers to ensure we provide them with innovative new beverages that meet their preferences and needs. However we currently have no plans to launch Vio in any country in Europe.”

Opinions on BevNET, a website that reviews non-alcoholic drinks, are not particularly complimentary. That on the peach mango flavour, for instance, suggests that while it delivers something “reminiscent of lassi“, the drink turns out to be “almost overwhelming” in its sweetness “by the time you are halfway through”. The citrus burst “is somewhat of a letdown compared with the eye candy that they’ve created with the branding”.

Carla Ogeia Lewis, trends and innovations consultant at market researchers Mintel, said: “I don’t think it is the type of product that will go very well in the UK. We are not a country that is very used to UHT milk – if we have it, is in the cupboard for an emergency – whereas in other countries it is more popular among people more used to ‘shelvable’ milk. Carbonated milk products are very popular in Asia. Here in the UK, people may buy it once or twice as a curiosity but I don’t think it is something that is that popular.”

An attempt to sell carbonated milk-based drinks by Britvic six years ago ended in failure. The concept had proved “too challenging for consumers at that stage”, the company told the Grocer magazine.

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