Coca-Cola seeks sugar alternative—and consumer stories

The company launched contests with large cash prizes for people who can either come up with a sweetener or who share innovative ways of naturally sweeten foods and beverages.

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Sugar has become the enemy of the modern healthy diet, and the Coca-Cola Company is looking for a replacement.

A 12-ounce can of the company’s signature soda contains 39 grams of sugar, and sales have been down over the last few years. Enter Coke’s idea to turn it around: the “Sweetener Challenge.”

Coca-Cola is offering $1 million to anyone who can help it “find a natural, safe, reduced, low- or no-calorie compound that generates the taste sensation of sugar when used in beverages and foods.”

Though Coke has its own research and development department, the contest serves to source new ideas as well as promote its initiative.

Inventors have 134 days to complete the challenge, and it “must be novel and not contain, or be derived from, Stevia or Lo Han Guo (Monk Fruit).”

“We’re always searching for newer, better ingredients, and we know that amazing ideas can come from anywhere,” Robert Long, Coca-Cola SVP and Chief Innovation Officer, said in a statement.

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