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Coca-Cola Turns to Consumers for Sweetener Innovations Through Crowdsourcing Contest

Company: Coca-Cola Česká republika s.r.o.

The  Coca-Cola  Company announced the six winning submissions to The Sweet Story Challenge, a crowdsourcing contest held in partnership with HeroX in search of new ideas for all-natural, low- or no-calorie sugar alternatives.

Each winner will walk away with a $20,000 grand prize for their submission of personal stories that shaped new sweetener ideas. The winning submissions were selected by a panel of judges based on the novelty of the ideas and the quality of the contestants’ stories.

The six winning submissions are:

·       Antonio Sacido of Mexico with “Agave Salmiana, The Ancestral Plant,” a story about increasing the cultivation of agave on a small plantation to create employment opportunities.

·       Rosse Ancalle of Bolivia with “Sweeten your Meal with Yacon,” an entry that focused on the cultural history of the Yacon plant.

·       Karen Martin of Australia with “Imagine…A Sprinkling of Custard Dust,” which focused on the use of custard apple dust as an alternative sweetener.

·       Rania Harastani of England with “Amiable and Sweet,” an entry that provided a scientific and cultural look at the anise plant.

·       Yanislav Iliev of Bulgaria with “Chasing the Sweetness: The Life Giving Ingredient,” an entry that explores the use of carob as a sweetener in multiple dishes.

·       Sandra Laksmono of Indonesia with “Coco-Cola, A Healthier Lifestyle,” which examined the importance of coconut as a sweetener used across Indonesia.

“At The Coca-Cola Company, we are always looking for superior new ingredients, and we know that many of those ingredients are already being used in various local contexts all around the world today,” said Robert Long, senior vice president and chief innovation officer, The Coca-Cola Company. “The Sweet Story Challenge is grounded in our desire to make the beverages our consumers want to drink, and in our willingness to look for external sources of innovation. The six winning submissions are excellent examples of innovation being driven by our consumers’ personal stories and cultural experiences, and we are excited about the future innovation their ideas can inspire.”


Long said the company decided to emphasize the stories behind the sweetener innovations in order to gain a better understanding of the personal and cultural contexts in which sweet foods and beverages are enjoyed every day. By understanding why and how natural sugar alternatives are being used, the company can better meet the demands of changing consumer tastes.

The Sweet Story Challenge is yet another step in The Coca-Cola Company’s push for consumer-centric growth, which Long says will include more low- and no-sugar beverage options in addition to drinks in emerging categories. This growth will require the company to take smart risks and pursue new ways of innovating.

Crowdsourcing stands out as one example of this new consumer-centric growth mindset. Going directly to consumers for new natural sweetener ideas supports The Coca-Cola Company’s accelerated plan to become a total beverage company. As the Company expands its beverage offerings to maximize consumer choice and convenience, it plans to seek out innovation both inside and outside the Coca-Colasystem.

“I think the best part of The Sweet Story Challenge is that passionate fans of our beverages were given the opportunity to share ideas that might shape the future of our beverage portfolio,” said Long. “Opportunities like that, and, in turn, our willingness to listen, are the essence of consumer-centric growth.”

Tags: New Products & Services | Health |

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