For Japanese beverage companies brainstorming to develop a new drinking trend, the answer soon became clear.

Now, “colorless” and “transparent” colas, beer and cafe lattes are becoming the next big things in the industry.

The bottled drinks look like water, allowing drinkers to appear more health conscious and to avoid the judgmental eyes of their colleagues at work.

The Coca-Cola System, comprising Coca-Cola Co. and its bottling partners, started selling Coca-Cola Clear on June 11, the first transparent beverage sold under the Coca-Cola brand.

One 500-milliliter bottle costs 140 yen ($1.30), excluding tax.

Coca-Cola did not use black caramel, but it retained the taste of its long popular beverage by adding various flavors and fruit juice.

The calorie-free Coca-Cola Clear has a fresh taste and strong carbonation with a zing of lemon.

The company said it was inspired by the opinions of people who do not want their work colleagues to know what they are drinking.

“I want customers to be able to drink without worrying about the time and place,” an official of Coca-Cola System said.

The same reasoning was behind Suntory Beer Ltd.’s All-Free All-Time non-alcoholic beer, which will go on sale on June 19.

The beer is transparent, a result of using fewer malts, which creates the golden color of normal beers.

All-Free All-Time will cost around 150 yen for an easy-to-hold 380-ml plastic bottle.

Non-alcoholic beers, which can refresh consumers without getting them drunk, have maintained a market share in the beverage industry, but growth has recently stagnated.

A marketing official of Suntory Beer said workers on the job will find the clear beer easier to drink because their colleagues or bosses will assume the beverage is water.

In May, Asahi Soft Drinks Co. began selling a transparent cafe latte called Clear Latte from Oishii Mizu (Delicious water).

The drink is low in calories and contains no caffeine.

“Even health-conscious people can drink it a lot,” a company official said.

A 600-ml bottle costs 124 yen, excluding tax.