McDonald's is looking to broaden its choice of flavours, types and even brands of beverages it sells, threatening Coca-Cola's long-standing position as the exclusive supplier of drinks at the world's largest fast-food chain.
The company is currently testing a range of bottled and canned beverages, including energy drinks and iced tea, as an alternative to soft drinks served from a dispenser.
The experiment is a response to the shift by consumers away from soft drinks towards a broader range of beverages and a growing preference for bottled drinks that can be resealed after opening.
According to Ralph Alvarez, president of McDonald's North America, the beverage industry continues to grow.
"Consumers are in love with bottled beverages. They can seal and unseal them as much as they want. We need to be part of that," he added.
Just over two months into the test, which is taking place in Texas, USA, the results have been "promising", McDonald's has said. Should that continue, McDonald's said it would stock Coca-Cola's products as well as competing brands in its restaurants.
Coca-Cola has been McDonald's exclusive drinks supplier since 1955. The move would be the latest in a series of innovations by McDonald's as the company seeks to broaden its appeal, amid growing competition and mounting consumer concerns over health and obesity.
Other products recently introduced by the fast-food giant in the USA include Green Mountain organic coffee and Newman's Own salad dressing.
By Jim Butcher
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