ATLANTA (AP) -- Coca-Cola Co. said Thursday that it will lower the recommended price for a pack of mini soda cans, touting the move as a way to help customers with portion control. But the company is also trying to lure budget-conscious customers wary of spending on non-necessities like soda.
The Atlanta-based company said it would recommend that retailers sell the eight-packs of 7.5-ounce cans for $2.99. Previously, the recommended price had been $2.99 to $4.99, though the price can vary because retailers set their own prices.
Coca-Cola said the move will make the price of each mini-can comparable to price of each 12-ounce can in a 12-pack -- about 37 cents a can -- even though they contain less soda.
Coke and other companies are looking to smaller packages as a way to appeal to cash-strapped customers. Companies know that customers can more easily be lured to spend a dollar on a single serving of a food or beverage than, say, three times as much on a family pack, even if the bigger packages are cheaper per serving. SuperValu Inc. introduced $1 portions of frozen meat this summer. Pepsico Inc. said this summer that single-serve sales of chips were up.
Coca-Cola introduced the mini can in 2009 and sells Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, Fanta Orange and Seagram's in that size.
The company also said Thursday that it will start selling single-serve sodas in a 12.5-ounce bottle for 89 cents, in addition to the traditional 20-ounce bottle that sells on average for $1.59. Coca-Cola has also recently introduced a 16-ounce bottle and a 1.25-liter bottle.
The company said in a meeting with investors this week that the 16-ounce bottle has sold well at 99 cents, and it plans to raise the suggested price over the next few months to $1.19.
Coca-Cola joins a wide range of companies, from restaurants to toothpaste makers, that are trying to raise prices on customers. Companies are paying more for ingredients to make their products and fuel to transport them, but they also have to be careful to not raise prices too much and risk driving shoppers away.
Coca-Cola said it had raised prices an average of 1 to 2 percent in the first half of the year and plans an additional 3 to 4 percent in the second half.