IT'S been a fizzer of a week for Coca-Cola, with the beverage goliath hitting another roadblock with their soft drink range.
On Thursday, Woolworths revealed it won't be stocking Coca-Cola's highly publicised new variant, No Sugar, on supermarket shelves.
A spokesperson told news.com.au that bottled water sales were soaring, while soft drink purchases continued to decline - meaning there just isn't enough room on the shelves for another similar product.
Now, another big player has delivered a hefty blow.
Pizza giant Domino's has ditched Coca Cola-Amatil as its soft drink supplier in favour of Pepsi/Schweppes, which analysts at Deutsche Bank estimate will reduce CCA's total drinks volume by about three per cent and deliver further savings for Domino's franchisees.
In a statement, a Domino's spokesperson said the new range will take place from September.
"The change follows extensive customer testing, which showed customers were
eager for a wider range of drinks," the statement read.
Domino's Chief Executive Australia New Zealand Nick Knight said the decision to stock Pepsi/Schweppes over Coca-Cola brands followed an extensive tender process and online customer testing.
"From our testing and the feedback we have received so far, we look forward to providing our customers a wider range of drinks to complement their Domino's meals - and we will continue to offer food and drink meal deals at great prices," Mr Knight said.
The Australian pizza market is currently dominated by Domino's, who have around 600 stores plotted across the country. Their franchise accounts for almost half of the sector, with Pizza Hut coming in second.
A spokesperson for Woolworths said the biggest hurdles to persuading consumers to buy cola again is booming sales of bottled water.
Launched with much fanfare last month, Coke No Sugar is part of a push by the beverage goliath to stem plummeting sales in the developed world where consumers have been shunning the soft drink.
Global sales of Coca-Cola brand products have been on a downward trajectory for more than a decade as consumers look for healthier options.
However Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA), the US company's Australian bottler, is keeping faith with the new drink bullishly saying they are "entirely confident that Coca-Cola No Sugar will be a huge success".
But being absent from the shelves of Woolworths won't make that "huge success" an easy task.
According to Roy Morgan research, Woolies has a 36 per cent share of the $90 billion supermarket industry and that means a lot of fizzy drinks sales.
Almost two thirds of soft drinks are categorised as low or no sugar, meaning there isn't enough shelf space for the new product.
"We have taken the decision to not range this product at this time," a spokesman told news.com.au.
"Our customers looking for a no sugar or low sugar cola option have ample choice already in the category across a range of different pack sizes and formats."
In contrast, Coles not only stocks Coke No Sugar but is actively promoting the brand.
Coca-Cola will be desperate to avoid repeating the experience of Coke Life which launched in a blaze of glory but failed to live up to sales expectations.
It has now quietly been rebranded as 'Coca-Cola with Stevia'.
Last month Coca-Cola said Coke No Sugar was the closest they had come to replicating the classic taste of the original drink without the calorie-dense additions.
"We wanted the experience of drinking Coca-Cola No Sugar to be as close as possible to 'The Real Thing'," Roberto Mercadé, the president of Coca-Cola in Australia, said in June, referencing to the successful 1970s advertising slogan of the brand.
"That's no small task when you consider the original has been cherished by consumers for more than a century."
Woolworths confirmed they will continue to stock Coca-Cola Zero in their stores nationwide. In fact, this could be part of the issue. Rather than Coca-Cola simply replacing Coke Zero with No Sugar, they have made the decision to run the two brands side-by-side for a time.
Both have red and black packaging and look almost identical. With shelf space at a premium, having two such similar drinks with the same brand may have been a step too far for Woolies.
In addition, consumers are increasingly turning to still and carbonated water as thirst quenchers with sales booming and Mount Franklin the most popular brand. But don't feel too sorry for Coke - its Australian bottler Coca-Cola Amatil owns Mount Franklin.
Coca-Cola insists that No Sugar is an entirely new variant and not a direct replacement for Coke Zero. The company is giving away two million free samples in the coming weeks.
"It's rolling out now onto thousands of shelves in other supermarkets, convenience stores, milkbars and grocery stores nationwide," a CCA spokeswomen told news.com.au.
"We're entirely confident that Coca-Cola No Sugar will be a huge success."
Woolworths has left the door open for Coke No Sugar eventually being ranged - when Zero is actually axed.