September 4, 2007/Atlanta/UPI -- A new sculpted hand-grip Coca-Cola Co. bottle with 5% less plastic began appearing at U.S. convenience stores Tuesday, the soft-drink company said.

Company executives said they hoped the new design would help reverse lagging sales of core brands, including Coke Classic and Diet Coke, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

They said the 20-ounce bottle, which resembles Coke's iconic contour bottle shape, would also help the company meet self-imposed environmental goals by reducing the plastic used in its packages, the newspaper said.

The redesign, Coke's first since 1993, does not affect glass bottles, the company said.

The new bottle features a textured, contour grip molded with an embossed Coca-Cola logo and Coke's signature "dynamic ribbon," Coke said. The design replaces the plainer, ridged sidewalls on the current bottle.

The new bottle's shorter cap also requires fewer turns to remove than the old cap, Coke said.

The new design, which will be used for all its soft drink brands, was the overwhelming choice of consumers during extensive testing, Coke said.

The Atlanta company also rolled out new-bottle versions in China and other countries, it said.

An ad campaign to support the new bottle will carry the tagline, "Get a Grip on Your Thirst."

From the September 10, 2007, Prepared Foods e-Flash