Coca-Cola Reformulates, Rebrands Coke Zero

Drink maker hopes to drive sampling with relaunch of no-calorie brand

ATLANTA -- Coca-Cola Co. is reformulating and renaming Coca-Cola Zero in an effort to improve the flavor—i.e., better approximate the taste of regular Coca-Cola—and drive consumer sampling of the carbonated soft drink.

The no-calorie soft drink will now go by the name Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, touting its “new improved taste” on the label.

“More than 10 years ago, we launched Coca-Cola Zero with a revolutionary recipe that gave fans real Coca-Cola taste without the sugar and calories,” said Stuart Kronauge, business unit president or USA Operations and senior vice president of marketing, Coca-Cola North America, Atlanta. “The brand grew strongly after its launch and gained millions of loyal fans over time, but we recognized an opportunity to give the brand another boost and to encourage more Coca-Cola fans to try a great-tasting zero-sugar product.”

Launched in 2005, Coca-Cola Zero was a success early on, driving trial just as consumer backlash against high fructose corn syrup was reaching a peak. As consumer concern about artificial sweeteners, however, began to grow, Zero’s strength ebbed.

Now Coca-Cola is counting on taste to turn that around.

“We’ve used our in-house innovation capabilities to make the great taste of Coke Zero even better and a lot like a Coke,” Kronauge said. “To achieve this, we optimized the unique blend of flavors that gave Coke Zero its real Coca-Cola taste in the new and improved Coca-Cola Zero Sugar recipe.”

As the company continues to create new beverages and evolve its recipes, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar represents the company’s latest zero-sugar product innovation. It joins a roster of nearly 250 other no- and low-calorie beverages offered in the United States, the company said.

Coca-Cola’s U.S. launch of Zero Sugar is a change from rollouts in other parts of the world. In Australia, retailers were asked to stock both Coca-Cola Zero and what is called Coca-Cola No Sugar there. The requirement led one of the largest retailers in the country supermarket chain, Woolworths, to refuse to stock the new drink.

“Our customers looking for a no-sugar or low-sugar cola option have ample choice already in the category across a range of different pack sizes and formats,” a spokesperson for Woolworths told News Corp. Australia.

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar will be available on U.S. store shelves nationwide starting in August. The product launch will be supported through an integrated marketing campaign, including TV, digital, radio, outdoor, social media and retail advertising that will promote the brand’s Coca-Cola taste with zero sugar. Kicking off in September, the marketing campaign also will include an experiential sampling tour that will invite people in local communities across the country to try Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.

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