The new flavor of sugar-free Coca-Cola will hit shelves this August.
Coca-Cola announced today that they are phasing out Coke Zero and replacing it with a so-called “new and improved” drink called Coke Zero Sugar. The move comes as more and more cities in America are taxing soda as a way to battle the obesity crisis.
The no-calorie and sugar-free soda will have a redesigned red label and a revamped recipe that tastes more like original Coca-Cola, according to the company.
"It is a reinvention of Coke Zero," CEO James Quincey said in a call with investors, reports Business Insider.
Coke Zero Sugar will land on shelves in America in August. It’s a late addition to the Coca-Cola line-up in the states; it’s already available in Mexico, the U.K., and 25 other countries. As yet, Coke Zero Sugar isn't slated to replace Diet Coke, sales of which have dropped around 2% since 2016.
The effort to appeal to consumers hoping to cut extra sugar out of their diets might have something to do with the fact that soda is falling out of favor: One report that came out this spring found that Americans now drink more bottled water than soda.
Several years ago, Coca-Cola spent millions of dollars on research into supposed health initiatives—which seems like a good use of their time at first glance, but the New York Times eventually uncovered that the brand was actually exclusively sponsoring studies that deflected blame away from the Coca-Cola for American’s health problems, like obesity and diabetes. Then-CEO Muhtar Kent was forced to make a public apology following the incident.
This may be a genuine attempt to give people who are unwilling to give up soda entirely a comparatively healthy, sugar-free option that still actually tastes like Coca-Cola. But in a time when Americans seem to be obsessed with healthy eating trends, maybe this switch to Coke Zero Sugar is the another sign that soda will have seriously rethink their image if it hopes to survive.