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    Coca-Cola to Test Citrus Flavors

    Company also looking at increasing ¿healthy¿ beverage products.

    Opportunities are flourishing for flavor suppliers targeting health-positioned drinks as No. 1 soft drink company Coca-Cola says it will push R&D investment in health-positioned products, according to a report on FoodQualitynews.com.

    The Atlanta-based Coke told a conference last week that it will test a new citrus-flavored soda called Vault.

    The new product will be designed to rival PepsiCo Inc.'s Mountain Dew product.

    In addition, Don Knauss, head of Coca-Cola's North American operations, said the firm is looking into developing the idea of fortifying soft drinks with vitamins and other health benefits.

    The Holy Grail for improved sales, food and drinks firms are leaping to formulate products that meet growing consumer concerns over health.

    In 2003, sales of functional foods and drinks were estimated to be over six times the value of those in 1998.

    But the soft drinks industry has been recently hit by a consumer shift away from sugary carbonated beverages toward healthier options, such as fruit juices and bottled water.

    Making up for lost market share, the soft drinks makers are responding by diversifying their core brands. Confirming the growing appeal of citrus flavors, Coke recently launched a lime-flavored version of its flagship beverage.

    In the past two years lemon was the most popular flavor, but this is now changing to cold-pressed lime, said Scott May, global product manager citrus at Quest International.

    “Growth from the flavor icon perspective is lime, as well as other flavors that are refreshing,” he told FoodNavigator.com recently.

    At the beginning of the year, Quest launched a new Citrusense range with 'real, authentic flavour profiles' onto the global market based on cold-processed ingredients.

    Cold-pressed citrus fruit oils are more aromatic than their distilled equivalents but they are very unstable. May claims the new range “can deliver the aromatic profile with up front notes while at the same time providing stability for the flavor in applications.”

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