The popular drink Coke Zero Sugar is going to taste a little different.
Coca-Cola introduced a modified version of the soda with the intent of making it taste more like regular Coke. It also adopted an all-red look, as opposed to red and black.
The new product hit stores this summer and has received mixed reviews. CNN Business reported disgruntled customers tweeting critiques such as “not good” and it “sucks.” Others commended the drink, saying it “hits the Coca-Cola craving.”
Apparently, the company expected a welcoming response. In mid-July, category lead of Coca-Cola Trademark in North America Rafael Prandini told CNN Business, "We pre-tested both the new recipe and the new look, with current Coca-Cola Zero Sugar consumers and non-consumers And they really love it."
This isn’t the first time Coca-Cola tinkered with its recipes. Or the second. Coke Zero was born in 2005, and in 2017, the company replaced Coke Zero with Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.
Way back in 1985, Coca-Cola shocked the world with New Coke. The change was prompted by Coke losing market share to Pepsi. After initial praise, fans longed for the original, and Coke answered by bringing back the old formula.
Coke still holds an advantage over Pepsi. According to Euromonitor International, Coke Zero Sugar owned 21% of the U.S. low-calorie soda market in 2020. Pepsi Zero Sugar was nowhere to be found in the top five brands on the list.
Duane Stanford, an editor and publisher of Beverage Digest, believes stirring the pot, or can, could have its benefits. Stanford said, "A little controversy online with social media users" can be a good thing.
In 2020, the product Coca-Cola Zero Sugar grew 4% by volume and in the first quarter of 2021, it increased 8% by volume.