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Coca-Cola’s health drink makes UK debut following lawsuit over their last ‘brain boost’ juice

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Coca-Cola has launched its first health drink since the ‘brain boost’ juice which landed them in a $345 million lawsuit.

The drinks giant released low-calorie, mineral-infused citrus drink Aquarius in the UK last week. There are two flavours to choose from: a lemon flavour containing zinc, or lime with magnesium.

Image courtesy of Aquarius

This comes only months after the launch of an ongoing lawsuit over the rights to Coca-Cola’s ‘brain boost’ drink, Fanta Gaba, which is distributed in Japan. 

Go Gaba drink lawsuit

Coca-Cola had been in talks with Mexican businessman José Antonio Del Valle, who pioneered Go Gaba, a drink containing the amino-acid based supplement Gaba. 

Gaba is widely used in Japanese drinks and is believed by some to have stress-relieving effects. However, for the largest drinks company in the world it has likely been a source of stress. 

Coca-Cola signed an agreement stating they would not produce or sell any beverage like Go Gaba for at least 30 months from December 2017. 

When the US company launched Fanta Gaba in Japan in 2018, Del Valle sued them for $345 million.

Coca-Cola denied the charge, arguing that it has been developing products containing Gaba since 2006 in Japan.

Infographic credit: Laura Parnaby

Aquarius: nutritional aims

Aquarius is aimed at young people with busy lifestyles in the UK. 

Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland, said: “Aquarius provides a new great tasting option for everyday moments when you are looking for a revitalising way to hydrate, with added minerals.”

78% of millennials overlook their wellbeing when busy, opting for success and stress instead, according to One Poll. The campaign states: “forget being snowflakes, millennials are the ‘Plus Generation’, becoming depleted on their search for success.”

The drink aims to “put back in what life takes out”. Each bottle contains minerals, sugar levels below the sugar tax limit, and 56 calories. 

A bottle of lime flavoured Aquarius contains 32% of your recommended dose of magnesium, and the lemon version has the same proportion of zinc. Coca-Cola states that zinc contributes to cognitive function, while magnesium helps reduce tiredness and stress.

Aquarius: the product

After its launch in Japan in 1983 as a grapefruit-flavoured drink, Aquarius was sold in Europe before its debut in the UK.  

Aquarius comes in recyclable 400ml and 900ml bottles, and is set to be the official drink of the 2020 Olympics. 

Where does it stand in the ‘functional drinks’ market?

Aquarius is Coca-Cola’s contribution to the ‘functional drinks market’, where it will compete with brands like Lucozade, Tenzing and WOW. 

Lucozade Sport Fitwater was launched in 2017, and contains electrolytes but no sugar, sweeteners or flavourings. It is one of the cheapest ‘functional drinks’, with 600ml bottles on sale for 89p in Asda.

Tenzing energy drink contains only natural ingredients and is based on a salty tea drunk in Nepal. It is sweetened with a small amount of sugar and is priced at £1.25 per 250ml bottle. 

WOW’s focus mixed berry drink is the same price as Tenzing but has no calories and no sugar.

Aquarius sits at the cheaper end of the spectrum, at 97p for 400ml in Sainsbury’s. 

Lead image credit: elainemgs, via Pixabay




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