In an effort to capitalize on the shift toward more-healthful beverages, Coca-Cola (Atlanta) is launching a diet version of its flagship cola, Coca-Cola Zero, in June. The introduction makes use of the Zero brand that now graces the diet version of Sprite. Unlike the Sprite product, however, Diet Coke will remain on the market, and Coca-Cola assures, “The launch of Coca-Cola Zero will not impact Diet Coke…since the target audiences are different.”

Similar to Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero will have no calories, but the new product will be sweetened with a blend of aspartame and acesulfame potassium. In a unique launch pattern, Zero is set to debut on eBay, a first for Coca-Cola, with all proceeds going to charity.

While the company is confident the youth-oriented Coca-Cola Zero will not impact Diet Coke, the mainstay will have an addition to its line. A new version of Diet Coke will be sweetened with sucralose and should be available in the second quarter of 2005.

Rival PepsiCo (Purchase, N.Y.) also is adding sucralose to one of its diet brands, albeit not Diet Pepsi. The sweetener will be part of an effort to boost the performance of the languishing Pepsi One.