Beverage Digest | March 31, 2000  

Coke Introducing New Red CSD in
Southwest Markets: 'Red Flash.'

Coca-Cola Co introduces new CSD product called "Red Flash" to compete with Big Red in southwest. Product begins rolling out in Texas markets San Antonio, Waco, Austin, El Paso, etc; not now in Dallas or Houston. Industry executive says Louisville, Kentucky possibly next. Multiple sources say Red Flash positioned "to go up against Big Red where Big Red has (significant) market share." Big Red's share in south Texas supermarkets is about 5.8, says industry executive. Adds Red Flash "is on all the Coke displays" and priced competitively with Coke's other flavor brands. Available in multiple can multi-packs and PET packages including clear 20-oz bolt bottle. Asked about new product, Coke executive calls it "good example of our developing a product to meet local taste." Company applied for "Red Flash" trademark 3/31/99.

Views. Big Red bottlers: 1) "Coke has done everything you're supposed to. It's getting good trial. We're watching it, but we're not going to panic." 2) "It's another attempt to gain some of Big Red's share, but it's not a serious threat."

Red Flash label graphics

Product. Red Flash said to taste similar to Big Red. Can/label graphics show "Red Flash" logo in white letters on diagonal in red oval. Below product name is words, "Red Soda." Background is black with red/silver bubbles. Bottle labels/cans state: "product of The Coca-Cola Company." 150 calories per 12-oz serving. Contains HFCS and/or sucrose, artificial and natural flavors, potassium benzoate, citric acid, caffeine, red 40.

Big Red. Waco Texas-based company sells "Big Red" plus other brands primarily in southwest. Company ranked #7 in BD/Maxwell data; sells 35.7 mil cases in 1999 (BD 2/18/00). Products include Big Red, Diet Big Red and Big Peach. Recently acquires Nesbitt's and NuGrape from Monarch (BD 9/10/99). Bottler says Big Red is "major brand" in some southwest markets, "it's a phenomenon." Adds, in some Texas C-stores, "it's the #3 brand behind Coke and Dr Pepper." Bottlers. Of total Big Red volume, 90.6% goes through 3rd-tier; 5.9% via Pepsi system; 3.5% via Coke system. Top Big Red bottlers include: Grant-Lydick, Dr Pepper/7Up Bottling, CCE and PBG (BD 12/10/99).

Co-existence? Big Red will not allow Coke bottlers with Big Red to sell Red Flash.


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