Food Industry

Coca-Cola Life: Stevia-Sweetened Coke Available at the Fresh Market

Coca-Cola Life is here, Miami!

For the first time, the stevia-sweetened soda is available in South Florida, as of yesterday, August 25.

The soda, sweetened with a blend of sugar and naturally sourced stevia leaf extract, caused a sensation in 2013 when it was launched in Argentina and Chile.

Now the soda, packaged in a distinctive green can, is available exclusively at 65 select Fresh Market stores in the Southeast United States through mid-October. Miami is one of the lucky markets.

See also: Real Housewives of Miami's Ana Quincoces at Fresh Market Coconut Grove

Coca-Cola Life is available in cans and bottles at four Miami-area Fresh Market stores, including 1800 West Ave. in Miami Beach; 2640 S. Bayshore Dr. in Coconut Grove; 18299 Biscayne Blvd. in Aventura; and 8760 SW 136th St. in Pinecrest. A complete list of stores carrying the soda is available at thefreshmarket.com.

In an effort to launch the brand, Fresh Market will sample Coca-Cola Life next month, on Saturday, September 27, and Sunday, September 28. Guests will also receive coupons for $1 off a six-pack purchase of the product.

The soda, made with a blend of stevia and sugar, contains 89 calories versus 140 calories in a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola Classic. Sweeteners derived from the stevia plant are up to 200 times sweeter than regular sugar and are calorie-free. Although the FDA has not permitted the use of whole-leaf stevia as a food additive because of reports that raise concerns of "control of blood sugar and effects on the reproductive, cardiovascular, and renal systems," it has approved the use of two versions of a sweetener made from rebiana, an extract from the stevia plant, which are used in Truvia and Coca-Cola products.

According to the Coca-Cola website, in 2011 the European Food Safety Authority "authorized the use of steviol glycosides [stevia] as a sweetener in foods and beverages. In fact, sweeteners made from stevia are permitted in more than 75 countries around the world."

Here's James Franco drinking Coca-Cola Life in Germany (complete with German voiceover):

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss