|(L-R) U.S. can of Coca-Cola Zero, U.K. version of the soda and "new" Coke|
of the 1980s.
Beginning in August, new cans of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar will arrive in stores and what we know as Coke Zero will fade away. There’s two reasons for the change. While we in America have been enjoying one version of the product, those living in other parts of the world have been enjoying another. However, unlike the earlier fiasco, the two recipes are very similar offering only a slight change. According to Duane Stanford of the beverage company, "It’s not as if it’s some complete overhaul of the formula. It’s really as much about the package redesign and repositioning as anything. One of the things they’re trying to do is make it 100% clear that there is no sugar in the product and that it is a no-calorie product."
The article goes on to say that even though that the current product clearly points out that there is no sugar in Coke Zero, there are some consumers who don’t get it. (Perhaps these are the same people who thought Michael Phelps was really going to race against a real shark during Shark Week on Discovery Channel.)
Believe it or not, there was a time when the only Coca-Cola you could buy was the real thing. Today, you can find original Coke sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, Coke sweetened with sugar, Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke, Diet Coke, Caffeine Free Coke, Coke Zero, Coca-Cola Life and other variations of the product. Isn’t America great?
Coca-Cola offered its first diet soft drink, Tab in 1963. The cola beverage contained saccharin and in the 1970s, in what is now considered flawed studies, it was thought that saccharin caused bladder cancer in rats. (Why rats were drinking Tab in the first place remains a mystery.) This put a damper in Tab sales for sure.
Though Pepsi came up with their own diet version of their main product a year later, Coca-Cola did not offer Diet Coke until 1982. At the time, the marketing tried to convince consumers that it tasted just like “the real thing.” The only problem was, it didn’t. Still, Diet Coke found its fans and Tab sort of disappeared. New Coke came on the scene in April of 1985. By July, the company said that it would return to the original formula. However, the company also continued producing New Coke (later re-named Coke II) until 2009.
In 2004, Coca-Cola offered another version of Coke called C2 which was marketed in having half the sugar, carbohydrates and calories of the original. Containing a mix of aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose and high fructose corn syrup, the new beverage tasted a lot more like regular Coke and was marketed to men who shunned the idea of drinking a “diet” soda. When Coke Zero was introduced in 2005, sales of C2 dropped and was officially discontinued in 2007.
In 2013, Coca-Cola offered yet another new Coke product, Coca-Cola Life, which is made with natural sweeteners stevia and sugar and has about 60% of the calories of regular Coke.