Will Coca-Cola be canceled? Beverage giant under fire for trying to 'optimize' Coke Zero flavor

The new recipe has already been launched in Europe and Latin America and is set to debut in select markets this month


                            Will Coca-Cola be canceled? Beverage giant under fire for trying to 'optimize' Coke Zero flavor
The new recipe has already been launched in Europe and Latin America (The Coca-Cola Company)

The Coca-Cola Company is facing a major pushback after announcing plans to revamp its recipe for Coca-Cola Zero Sugar for a "more delicious and refreshing" version with brand-new packaging.

The new recipe has already been launched in Europe and Latin America and is set to debut in select markets this month. A nationwide rollout is expected by September, as reported by CBS 4 Valley Central. However, Coke Zero fans aren't so thrilled.

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The latest change in Coca-Cola Zero Sugar comes just four years after its last reformulation in 2017 when the decision sparked quite an uproar. However, the latest formula is said to "optimize" existing flavors and ingredients instead of changing the taste completely. According to the list of ingredients, the sweetening combination of aspartame and acesulfame potassium remains unchanged.

“Recognizing that tastes and preferences are always evolving, we’re focused on continuous improvement to give fans the best-tasting Coca-Cola they want — with zero sugar or calories — offered in the most iconic packaging and powered by some of our most creative, consumer-centric marketing yet,” said Rafael Prandini, North America’s Coca-Cola category lead.

A Coca Cola stands outside the stadium ahead of the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Leicester City at Villa Park on December 08, 2019, in Birmingham, United Kingdom (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

 

In a press release, North America’s Coca-Cola category lead Rafael Prandini said the company recognized how "tastes and preferences" were "always evolving." "We’re focused on continuous improvement to give fans the best-tasting Coca-Cola they want — with zero sugar or calories — offered in the most iconic packaging and powered by some of our most creative, consumer-centric marketing yet,” he added.

According to Coca-Cola, "all listed ingredients and nutritional information remain the same." However, the packaging has a more “simplified” and “streamlined” design. The white script reading “Coca-Cola” has been replaced with black lettering as part of the new look, with a message, "Now More Delicious," added to the label.



 

 

Coke Zero fanatics, many of whom are athletes and fitness enthusiasts, slammed the decision to change the drink.

"Wait, they're changing Coke Zero again? Didn't they literally change it (for the worse) a few months ago? Coke Zero has gone from Pepsi Max challenger to overly fizzy Sprite with coloring and odd aftertaste in 2021," journalist Keith Andrew tweeted.

"It’s already good. Quit screwing with Coke Zero again," Diablo exec Adam Fletcher added.

"Hi, my name is Mitch and I’m a Coke Zero addict. If this change sours my drink of need I may do something desperate," one Twitter user wrote.

"I don’t want Coke Zero to taste like gross ass Coke. I want it to taste like Coke Zero. Liquid of the heavens," another quipped.

"Are you tired of Coca-Cola changing the flavor of their drinks? Did you enjoy the taste of Coke Zero only to find out it’s going to be made probably gross? Boy, do I have the solution for you! Pepsi Max. It’s just perfect. Because YOU. Deserve the MAX," a third chimed in.



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

 

Coke Zero was originally launched in 2005 and had first reformulated its recipe in 2017 to taste "closer than ever" to the original Coke flavor. The decision, at the time, prompted several fans to hoard the original version, but taste testers for Beverage Digest and AdAge upheld that any differences in taste were negligible.

The motivation for the latest revamp, other than "optimizing" flavor, was not detailed in the release. However, Natalia Suarez, senior brand manager of Coca-Cola’s North America Operating Unit, noted that the "consumer landscape is always changing, which means we must evolve to stay ahead."

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