Adding more of the 'good stuff'
It may sound impossible, but Coca-Cola Japan debuted a well-tasting fiber-enriched, fat-blocking, calorie free soft drink called zero-calorie Coca-Cola Plus. Since the substation of artificial sweeteners (aspartame, L-phenylalanine compound, acesulfame K, and sucralose) that are added do not exactly correspond to the growing clean label ingredient concerns, drinks like these could be a sign of a shifting mindset among carbonated soft drink companies away from removing the 'bad stuff' to adding more of the 'good stuff'.
The drink is fortified with indigestible dextrin which is a dietary fiber that helps to suppress fat absorption while moderating levels of triglycerides in the blood from eating.
Apparently the consumption of one bottle of 47cl per day with food reduces blood triglyceride levels by 7%, compared to what they would ordinarily be if a traditional diet cola was consumed instead.
This drink is also the first Coca-Cola branded carbonated soft drink that’s approved under Japan's Food for Specified Health Use. Even though FOSHU products do have the right they offer specific health benefits, they are not allowed to claim to be a health food since they’re not subject to the more rigorous testing required for a product claiming to be a true "health food.
This zero-calorie drink of Coca-Cola Plus isn’t the first fat-blocking drink that has appeared on the Japanese market.
Multiple beverage makers have been introducing soft drinks with indigestible dextrin in Japan for the past 20 years, although carbonated soft drinks came well after ready-to-drink teas. Coca-Cola may not have enjoyed success the first time around with Coca-Cola Plus, but later launches suggest that the fiber-enhanced soft drink concept may have staying power.
However, time will have to tell if other national markets show as much enthusiasm for fat-blocking drinks as Japan does. Who knows what new category in carbonated soft drinks will come into existence and what it will do to the flat growth within the soft drink industry.