Coca Cola keeps adding to the global NCD burden by extending their alcohol business on top of their high sugar beverages. As Movendi International previously reported the company launched three alcoholic lemon flavored beverages in Japan in 2018. The latest “Nomel” brand which launched recently is the second alcopop released in Japan by Coca Cola.
The Nomel brand has a range of three different lemon flavored alcohol products. Two of the beverages have 5% alcohol and one has 7% alcohol. This is higher than the alcohol content (4%) found in usual canned alcoholic beverages of Japan.
Coca Cola’s move into the alcohol business seeks to reduce its reliance on their core sugary brands. Their global net operating revenues have fallen by over £8 billion since 2012, as high sugar drinks were required to display health warnings. The company is trying to protect its profit interest by cashing in on alcohol products.
The alcopops of the 21st century
All the alcoholic products released so far by Coca Cola uncannily resemble alcopops of the 1990s. From the fruity tastes to the colorful branding and advertising these products are obviously targeting the younger generation. However, Coca Cola keeps saying they have tried to make their marketing not appeal to underage youth.
These are clearly aimed at younger people who are more health conscious and have not developed a taste or liking for alcohol. Coca Cola as a corporate giant deploys a massive marketing machinery and will be pushing more addictive products into young people’s lives,” said Kristina Sperkova International President, Movendi International.Kristina Sperkova, International President, Movendi International
Alcopops are high sugar alcoholic beverages, specifically marketed to younger people. Their popularity grew in the 1990s. Big Alcohol has previously been accused of driving underaged alcohol use with these alcopops which are very attractive and affordable to teenagers. Research has called for banning or strictly restricting these alcopops because of the harm they pose to children and youth. Many countries imposed high taxes on these products leading to an increase in price and therefore a decrease in consumption and overall popularity among younger people.
Since alcopops were exposed for their harm, the alcohol industry moved to a different marketing strategy. Promoting “healthy” options for alcohol products. While this claim is obviously factually wrong, the marketing pivot was able to attract younger demographics who were more health conscious. The hard setzer category such as launched by Coca Cola in the U.S. and UK is one such alcoholic product which is advertised as “low in calories”, “gluten free”, “vegan”.
By marketing alcohol with these healthy lifestyle attributes the alcohol industry is engaging in several unethical business practices:
- Attempting to pass off alcohol as healthy.
- Disguising alcohol’s true harm.
- Targeting youth.