Popping up amid the disasters of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, solar flares and wildfires was some news the other day that really set the Internet to buzzing: The Coca-Cola Co. decided to phase out Coke Zero and introduce a new product, Coke Zero Sugar.
I know. I was aghast as well.
There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth as people moaned about the loss of their favorite diet soda. All sorts of comparisons were raised, but mainly to New Coke, the 1980s marketing disaster that occurred when the company decided to change the Coke formula and outraged millions. The result was a return of the original formula Coke and lots pf chapters on marketing mistakes in college marketing class textbooks
I have been buying Coke Zero for a while. I always thought it had a nice taste, better than most diet stuff. But I’m not very discerning when it comes to tasting stuff. I can drink about any soda if it is in a big glass of ice and is cold enough.
There have been a lot of reviews of the new product on the Internet already, pretty much split between those who think the new version is fine and those who disagree. But disagreement is what the Internet is all about.
So I bought a one-liter bottle of Coke Zero Sugar to see for myself. Tasted fine, I thought. Of course, I can’t tell one cola from another, although I know people who swear they can.
Not to sound old or something, but these days there are so many different brands of soda and so many choices of diet drinks in so many sizes, that people have it good. Back when I was a kid in Wellsville, Missouri, we had to make do with 10-ounce bottles of Pepsi. I don’t know why our area bottler didn’t have 12-ounce bottles like everyone else but we just had to suffer.
Or you could go to the gas station and in a big cooler full of cold water they would have a variety of sodas including 16-ounce bottles of Double Cola. An interesting name since the bottle wasn’t actually exactly double the size of any of the other sodas, even the Cokes which came in little 6.5 ounce bottles that we ignored as a terrible deal.
Interestingly enough, I now buy bottles that have 15.9 ounces of soda, bringing me back full circle it seems.
All the fuss may be about nothing. In my research I found that Coke Zero Sugar has exactly the same ingredients as Coke Zero. I guess in differing amounts?
The company stresses that the new product and name is to make sure people realize it is a sugar-free soda and to differentiate it from other diet sodas. They say it has been marketed in other countries for a while without any consumer backlash.
Yeah, well, so has soccer.
One reviewer noted that the bright side might be that Coke Zero would be on clearance in many places. There also should be some introductory sales on Coke Zero Sugar. I didn’t see any.
But the other day I also stocked up on a product called Pepsi Zero Sugar because it was on sale, which almost always is my main concern when choosing between the products of the two giant soda makers.