Schweppes Zimbabwe expects the original Mazoe to be back in shops by end of July as the firm needs time to prepare and print labels for the distinct original brand, managing director Charles Msipa has said. Mr Msipa told journalists on Friday that the company had listened to consumer demands and has now decided to have both variants, of the old Mazoe and the new Mazoe on the market.
"The people have spoken, they want original Mazoe, and they want it soon. Original Mazoe is coming back," Mr Msipa told the press conference.
The original Mazoe was taken off the market two months ago and was replaced by a new product with lower sugar content.
Mr Msipa said the decision was motivated by demands "of some of our consumers who were telling us that they want more drinks that taste great but also have less sugar and lower calories."
As a result the company replaced the original Mazoe with a product with reduced sugar, but with a blend of sweeteners, which are approved by national and international food health authorities that were added to the recipe.
Mr Msipa said before effecting the recipe change, the company had conducted "extensive consumer research with those who participated expressing satisfaction with the reduced sugar Mazoe."
He, however, admitted that the research had not measured the "passion that people of Zimbabwe have for the original Mazoe."
He added that the overwhelming feedback was testimony to the fact that Mazoe is central to Zimbabwean heritage and culture.
Following the introduction of the new Mazoe, consumers expressed their dissatisfaction with the new product and appealed to the company to reverse its decision, demands which have now been met with the pending reintroduction of original Mazoe by the end of next month.
"We are humbled by the overwhelming feedback that we got from the consumers and stakeholders. We are bringing back the original Mazoe recipe," said Mr Msipa.
He added that the beverages company was committed to providing consumers with a wide range of products for them to make choices.
"Therefore, both the original Mazoe and the reduced sugar Mazoe will be available on the market with distinctive labels," said Mr Msipa who was flanked by officials from the Coca - Cola Company.
Responding to questions, Coca-Cola senior brand manager, Ms Vee Chibanda, said the sweeteners that were used for the new Mazoe were safe for human consumption.
"The sweeteners we use are some of the most thoroughly researched ingredients in the world, with scientific studies consistently confirming their use and safety.
"We only use low and no calorie sweeteners that have been thoroughly tested in scientific studies and safe, including for children and adults, and approved for use by national and globally recognised authorities, including the Ministry of Health" among other healthy organisations.
Schweppes Zimbabwe general manager, Mr Demos Mbauya, said the company had not witnessed any dip in demand following the introduction of the new products.
"Demand for product has been firm and we are actually expecting stronger demand going forward as we are now catering for consumers with different tastes," said Mr Mbauya.