- Coca-Cola has announced plans to debut Sprite Cherry and Sprite Cherry Zero based its popularity as a combination selected by consumers from the beverage giant’s Freestyle soda fountains, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Coca-Cola’s Freestyle fountains, located at restaurants, theaters, convenience stores and other locations, offer consumers more than 150 mix-and-match flavor choices. According to the company, the Sprite and cherry combination stood out among the most popular.
- The company analyzed and acted upon consumer flavor selection data to devise new product releases, demonstrating another way manufacturers can implement big data collected internally to expand or enhance their portfolios.
Coca-Cola's Freestyle machine demonstrates how a proprietary technology can be a big data gold mine for manufacturers. Many manufacturers use data collected from retail sales and social media, but companies have sought out other ways to integrate widespread consumer-driven data.
One way has been through voting and contests, such as through Mars' vote for its newest peanut M&M's flavor and PepsiCo's vote for which throwback Mountain Dew flavor would become a new permanent staple. Quaker Oats recently released a variety pack with three finalist flavors, one of which will become a limited-time flavor based on consumer votes coming in through mid-November.
Also worth noting is that this is Coca-Cola first soda release since 2014, when it released low-calorie but naturally sweetened Coca-Cola Life. Since then, Coca-Cola has focused more on expanding its non-sparkling beverage portfolio through investments and acquisitions, ranging from cold-pressed juices to aloe water. But, as this announcement shows, it isn't moving away from its core business.