The Coca-Cola Company has launched its first product that is 100% sweetened with natural sweetener stevia in New Zealand.

The product, which is called Coca-Cola Stevia No Sugar and will replace Coca-Cola Life in the country, is produced using a specific part of the stevia leaf to provide sweetness with a clean aftertaste.

Coca-Cola Oceania country manager Sandhy Pillay said: “The last ten years of continuous innovation with stevia means we’re now able to deliver a delicious tasting beverage and we believe it’s the best tasting stevia sweetened cola we’ve ever made.”

“Kiwis are innovative by nature and love to try new things. We jumped at the chance to launch Coca-Cola Stevia No Sugar.”

Coca-Cola South Pacific technical director George Droumev said: “Balancing what Kiwis want is no simple task.”

“People still have the desire for drinks that taste good, but don’t necessarily want the sugar. They want the same taste as the drinks they grew up with, but don’t want the kilojoules. There has always been some sort of trade-off. Our task was to solve all of these challenges.”

“Our team and our partners have spent almost ten years working with stevia, a sugar alternative from a natural source – the stevia plant. It was not as simple as finding a sweetener and swapping that out for sugar. It had to have a taste that people will love. Coca-Cola Stevia No Sugar is the result of thousands of hours working with the stevia plant to get the best from it.

“What is new, and a breakthrough with this beverage, is that we are using a very specific part of the stevia leaf as a sweetener that tastes great and has a clean aftertaste.”

The product became available from 7 May in all major and independent retailers in New Zealand in a variety of pack sizes and formats including a 300ml PET bottle, 600ml PET bottle, six-pack of 250ml cans and 330ml glass bottle.