Coke Zero, age 12, passed away the first week of August due to the replacement by another soft drink, Coke Zero Sugar. He leaves behind his successor, Coke Zero Sugar, which will be taking his place appealing to a market of consumers who seek lower-sugar options.
Coke Zero first arrived on shelves in June of 2005. It was Coca-Cola’s most successful new product launch since Diet Coke in 1982. While Coke Zero’s initial target audience was younger males—the hope was to give them a diet drink without "feminine" qualities—it would soon be enjoyed by all diet soda fans. And that love only continued to grow: In 2016, Coke Zero sales grew 3.5 percent, compared to the 1.9 percent of its rival, Diet Coke.
Despite that success, Coke Zero is still being taken off the market early this month to make room for Coke Zero Sugar. The list of ingredients in Coke Zero is identical to Coke Zero Sugar except for a single ingredient, sodium citrate, that's been added to the new product. Spokespeople claim that this addition makes Coke Zero Sugar look and taste more like Coca Cola Classic.
Fans of Coke Zero will miss the sweet, non-acidic taste of the beverage as Coke Zero fades out of stores and into the abyss of treasured soft drinks gone too soon. (There are still Crystal Pepsi Fans out there, right?) The drink was known to be bubbly at all times, and refreshing to all who encountered it. If anything, Coke Zero was Diet Coke’s hot older brother who has now gone off to college leaving consumers to wonder, "Will he come back better than ever or show up at Thanksgiving with a beer gut?"
Funeral services will be held at homes across the nation as many people crack open a Coke Zero for the last time. Coke Zero, your legacy will live on, we hope, with sodium citrate making our soda-drinking lives better, not worse.
R.I.P. COKE ZERO (JUNE 2005 – AUGUST 2017)