Coca-Cola stunned the country on Wednesday when the company announced it will stop selling Coke Zero in America and replace it with a new soft drink: Coke Zero Sugar.
Coke Zero Sugar “is a reinvention of Coke Zero” said CEO James Quincey. It has a new recipe and design.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
The company launched Coke Zero in 2006, but gains by that product haven’t compensated for a broad decline in consumption of Diet Coke, said Mr. Quincey, who took over the beverage giant in May.
Rather than switching to Coke Zero or Diet Coke, fans of original Coca-Cola can now “stay with the brand they love. It just comes with a couple of variants — one with sugar and one without sugar,” Mr. Quincey said.
Coke has been aiming to cut sugar from its products and diversify beyond soda as more countries consider special taxes on high-calorie drinks to combat rising rates of obesity and diabetes, and as consumers switch to healthier beverages.
Consumers are shifting away from sugary drinks but at the same time, many are rejecting artificially sweetened diet sodas, posing a challenge for soda giants trying to introduce lower- calorie options. Low- and no-calorie cola sales fell 5% by volume in North America last year, according to Euromonitor.
Coca-Cola has found that Coke Zero Sugar has sold well in Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America.
Wall Street Journal reported that Beverage Digest ranked Coke Zero as the tenth “soda brand in the U.S. last year, with sales growth of 3.5%.” Diet Coke ranked third, “but is losing fizz, with a 2% drop in sales.”
(I find that impossible because we all know that Diet Coke is the nectar of the Gods. I’m writing this as I chug my fourth Diet Coke of the day.)
Those in charge at Coca-Cola also wanted to make sure people know that the product has zero sugar in it. From USA Today:
“It’s not as if it’s some complete overhaul of the formula,” he said. “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.”
Coke CEO James Quincey acknowledged that customers were confused.
“It may surprise you to learn, but it’s true that consumers have not always been clear that either Diet Cokes or Coke Zeroes are absolutely zero sugar. That’s just a fact of consumer research,” he said on a conference call.
But it’s possible adding sugar to the name could fire back on them:
Susan Cantor, CEO of branding firm Red Peak, which wasn’t involved in the launch, said the new packaging conveys that the new product is part of the red Coke family, but the addition of “sugar” to its name may confuse some consumers.
“Sugar is a bad word these days, so I question their thought process in putting it so prominently on the package,” she said. “This could possibly call attention to the very ingredient that they have eliminated.”
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