After years of being blamed for consumers' expanding waistlines, Coca-Cola and Nestle are preparing to launch a carbonated beverage that burns calories.
Through their joint venture, Beverage Partners Worldwide, the companies will next month launch Enviga, a sparkling green-tea drink under the Nestea name that is "calorie deficient" rather than calorie-packed, executives told reporters during a briefing.
The brand uses a blend of green-tea extracts known for boosting metabolism called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). The marketers boasted Enviga has twice the EGCG of leading competitors, no more caffeine than an average cup of coffee and 20% of the daily value of calcium for men and women ages 19 to 50.
"There's calorie, low-calorie, zero-calorie, and now we offer consumers negative-calorie products," said Jason Warner, group marketing director for Beverage Partners Worldwide Americas.
Enviga will launch in New York's five boroughs, along with New Jersey and Philadelphia, on Nov. 6, backed by a multimedia campaign from agency Anomaly, New York. Sold in the tea aisle for about $1.29, the drink will be packaged in slim 12-ounce cans and will be available in berry, peach and green-tea flavors (a citrus flavor is also slated for some markets).
The national launch is set for Feb. 5. Tests are also running in Australia, Canada, Mexico and eight markets in Europe for an eventual global rollout. Office, San Francisco, developed the packaging.
Rhona Applebaum, chief scientist for Coca-Cola Co., said extensive scientific studies showed that three cans a day of the drink would burn a net average of 60 to 100 calories. The company conducted a double-blind, placebo study with Switzerland's University of Lausanne and referred to four other existing studies supporting the green-tea and caffeine claims. The companies didn't test the benefits of a single can, which, based on the three-can result would seem to have a negligible net calorie burn.
The marketers will try to set Enviga apart from the onslaught of silver-bullet diet products, which Mr. Warner said are often "fat-based, overhyped and underdeliver."
Executives wouldn't divulge the campaign's tagline or positioning but said elements will include sampling, couponing, out of home, print and interactive. Creative will reflect Enviga's significance as a new category.
"This is not a plan or a diet pill, no magic or exercise replacement," said Deborah Roberts, senior brand manager for Coca-Cola North America. "This is about the little steps you take every day in order to have a more balanced lifestyle."