Coca-Cola Changes the Flavor of Coca-Cola Zero, Risking Backlash


Coca-Cola changed the taste of its soda in 1985 and angered a nation.

Now, the company is doing it again and risking another revolt. This time around, it’s changing the taste and appearance of one of its most popular soft drinks: Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, better known as Coke Zero, the dietary byproduct that’s supposed to look a lot like the sugary version of “classic” Coke.

Company officials said Tuesday that the plan was was to change the drink to “give it an even more iconic Coke flavor.”

Worried Americans, or at least those who regularly drink Coke Zero, will be the judges.

Already, the upcoming change on social media has been met with anxiety and concern. Some consumers have promised to switch to other drinks, such as Diet Dr Pepper, or have threatened to switch to Coca-Cola’s arch-rival Pepsi.

Others remembered 1985 marketing debacleWhen Coca-Cola launched “New Coke,” a sweeter version of the original soft drink that was rejected by many consumers.

a Detroit waiter He told The New York Times that year soda was “flat and very sweet”. One writer in Florida called it a “taste tragedy.” A spokesperson for Pepsi-Cola declared this to be “an enormous opportunity for us”.

The change was Pepsi’s attempt to repulse Coca-Cola’s growing success, which was beginning to cut market share.

But consumers hated New Coke. In June 1985, the company was receiving 1,500 calls per day on its consumer hotline.

“People seem to hold any Coca-Cola employee personally responsible for the change, from the security guards in our headquarters to their neighbors who work for Coca-Cola,” he said. a detailed account of the fiasco on the company’s website.describes the episode as “one of the most memorable marketing blunders ever.”

The taste change made people so angry An episode of the “Golden Girls” sitcom referenced anger at a joke, consumers stocked up on their original cans, and at least one lawsuit tried to get Coca-Cola back to its original formula. (A federal judge dismissed the case, stating that he prefers Pepsi.)

In July 1985, just three months later, the company announced that it would be restoring the original Coca-Cola, now renamed “Coca-Cola Classic,” for storage on the shelves. “If that’s what the consumer wants, we’ll give it to him,” said Charles Millard, president of the New York Coca-Cola Bottling Company. said after about a hundred.

Doug Bowman, a marketing professor at Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business, said this time around, the change is unlikely to cause the same kind of reaction, despite some early grunts.

“This is a strategy where Coke is trying to stay ahead of the market,” he said.

In general, consumers have become accustomed to beverage companies modifying and adapting popular drinks. Professor Bowman says that in the nearly 40 years since the New Coke kerfuffle, vodka companies have introduced vanilla, lime and peach flavors; popular beer brands tried countless flavors; and has dealt with both Coke and Pepsi fruit varieties.

Even Coca-Cola provided a limited supply of “New Coke” In 2019, as part of a promotion for the supernatural thriller “Stranger Things” set in the 1980s.

The changes advertised on the new Coke Zero look very subtle in comparison, he said.

Professor Bowman, who taught courses to Coca-Cola employees at Emory through a company-paid program from 2002 to 2004, said, “It’s hard to see anyone notice the difference, except for the most murderous Coca-Cola Zero Sugar employees.”

Natalia Suarez, senior brand manager at Coca-Cola, said in a statement that the company is tinkering with the soda recipe because to continue to grow, “we must continue to challenge ourselves to innovate and differentiate, just as other iconic brands do.”

“The consumer environment is always changing,” he added, “which means we need to evolve to move forward.”

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, which the company launched in 2005, had previously changed its flavor. In 2017, the company said the product was “reformulated” to make it more like standard Coca-Cola.

The company said in a statement that the new change “optimises existing Coca-Cola Zero Sugar flavors and existing ingredients.”

While the company didn’t say what this process would look like, promise social media will not change contentsContains carbonated water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, aspartame, caffeine and potassium benzoate.


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