Sugar reductions have not affected soft drink sales, says Coca-Cola chief

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Coca-Cola has reduced the sugar content of some of its biggest brands, including Sprite, Fanta and Dr Pepper, without affecting sales, the company's chief executive has said.

The new Fanta recipe, launched in the UK this month, contains a third less sugar and follows a 33% reduction in 2006, resulting in 4.6g per 100ml.

Fanta now contains less than half the 10.6g of sugar in Coca-Cola Classic.

There were similar reductions to Sprite and Dr Pepper in 2013 and 2014.

Sweeteners - stevia in Sprite and acesulfame in Fanta - have been added to maintain the taste.

Chief executive James Quincey said the changes had not significantly hit sales.

He told Bloomberg Businessweek: "We took some of the calories out of Sprite and consumers like Sprite now as much as they did before. Then we took 30% of the calories out of Fanta to see what would happen. Again, sales seem to be continuing fine."

A two-tier levy of 18p on soft drinks with 5g of sugar per 100ml and 24p on those with more than 8g will be introduced from April next year as part of plans to reduce childhood obesity.

Mr Quincey suggested the size of bottles and cans may be reduced to help cut sugar consumption.

He said: "If people are going to drink everything that's in front of them, well, when they've got a smaller package, they'll have less. That's the sort of thing mums like for kids."

Aedamar Howlett, marketing director at Coca-Cola Great Britain, said: "This year looks set to be the biggest in Fanta's history, with a fresh new look inside and out.

"As well as a new visual identity, we've been working hard to reduce the sugar without compromising on the taste and we're delighted to be launching this new look alongside a new recipe with a third less sugar than before, which consumers have told us tastes better than ever."

The Coca-Cola Company launched Fanta in Italy in 1955.