Coca-Cola Amatil’s supermarket sales have had a shot in the arm with the introduction over the long weekend of Coke Life, the franchise’s first new brand in a decade.

Early data scrutinised by CC Amatil executives and sales teams shows sales across the Coca Cola range lifted from Good Friday to Easter Monday compared to the Easter weekend last year.

Coke Life, a soft drink that uses natural sweeteners and extracts from the stevia plant and has a third fewer calories than standard Coke, hit Australian and New Zealand stores on the Easter weekend and was used by many outlets to promote the Coke range.

At Woolworths stores Coke Life was heavily promoted with the supermarket giant’s “cheap’’ slogan and sold at $2 a bottle, a 30 per cent discount for a standard 1.25 litre bottle.

It was promoted less strongly at Coles stores, with many selling Coke Life at $2.79.

Woolworths is understood to have been trying to improve its price perception among shoppers by slashing prices for Coke Life as soon as it was launched, standing out in the market as one of the cheapest retailers of the new brand.

Barry O’Connell, the managing director of CC Amatil’s Australian beverages business, told The Australian he was very pleased with the public’s reaction to Coke Life during its first weekend on sale.

“While it is still early days, customers have embraced the product and we have a seen a halo effect across our full suite of Coke-branded products,” Mr O’Connell said as he travelled to Tasmania on Monday to oversee the marketing and promotion of Coke Life across the state’s supermarkets, convenience stores and vending machines.

When Coke Life was introduced in Britain the mid-calorie brand helped lift the Coke franchise by 4 per cent, although CC Amatil is quick to note that the British market and its route to distribution model differs from Australia’s.

CC Amatil is supporting the Coke Life launch with $10 million in advertising and marketing expenditure as well as point-of-sale merchandise for supermarkets and convenience stores.

CC Amatil chief executive Alison Watkins hopes the new brand will appeal to health-conscious consumers and lift the beverage company’s earnings after years of falling returns.

Extracted in full from The Australian.