11 Jan 2018 --- On-trend bold botanical, fruit and spice flavors like mango, lime, ginger and blood orange, are the key components of new-look Diet Coke as the iconic brand goes through a transformation which also includes sleek new packaging.
35 years after it first hit stores in the US, the zero-calorie soda is going through somewhat of a metamorphosis, mainly to appeal to millennial drinkers who craze bold new flavors and experiences.
The two-year innovation process was fueled by consumer research pointing to younger Americans’ affinity for big, yet refreshing and great-tasting, flavors in their favorite foods and beverages – from hoppy craft beers to spicy sauces.
Click to EnlargeThe company spoke to more than 10,000 people from across the US to get their ideas and inputs on potential flavor extensions, packaging updates and more. From these insights, Coca-Cola’s R&D team developed and tested more than 30 Diet Coke flavor combinations, featuring tropical, citrus and even botanical notes.
Ultimately, Diet Coke landed on four flavors that received the most positive consumer responses: Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango.
They aim to satisfy adventurous fans’ thirst for bolder tastes and more dynamic and uplifting experiences. Meanwhile, the original Diet Coke remains unchanged and is available nationwide.
There is also a contemporary updated new look for the four new flavors as The Coca-Cola Company modernizes Diet Coke for a new generation of drinkers.
Diet Coke and the new flavors will be packaged in sleek 12-oz cans and sold as on-the-go singles and in eight-packs. Diet Coke also will continue to be offered in all existing package sizes, such as standard 12-oz. cans, mini cans, glass bottles and more.
All new packaging and flavors hit store shelves this month.
“Diet Coke is one of the most iconic brands loved by millions of fans in North America,” said Rafael Acevedo, Coca-Cola North America’s group director for Diet Coke. “Throughout this relaunch journey, we wanted to be bold, think differently and be innovative in our approach. And most importantly, we wanted to stay true to the essence of Diet Coke while recasting the brand for a new generation.”
“We know Diet Coke has all kinds of fans – from people who have loved its great taste since it launched in 1982 to Millennial men and women who are always looking to try new things.”
“We’re modernizing what has made Diet Coke so special for a new generation. The same unapologetic confidence still comes through and the same great Diet Coke taste people love is here to stay, but we’re making the brand more relatable and more authentic.”
“Millennials are now thirstier than ever for adventures and new experiences, and we want to be right by their side.”
Click to EnlargeThe sleek cans will give Diet Coke a more contemporary feel and a refreshed visual identity, according to the company.
Anchored by the brand’s iconic silver color, the new look-and-feel has a simplified color palette focused on silver and red with accents of bold color to represent the new flavors.
In addition, a slightly refined typography simultaneously preserves Diet Coke’s heritage.
“For a design team, the opportunity to rethink such an iconic brand with the scale and reach of Diet Coke – to build on its heritage and create a visual language that will help write its next chapter – is a rare brief,” said James Sommerville, vice president, Coca-Cola Global Design. “This visual evolution elevates the brand to a more contemporary space, while still using at its foundation the recognizable core brand visual assets.”
This is the latest makeover for Coca-Cola which has been busy over the last year or so with launches, reformulations and tweaks, adapting to the shifting preferences of consumers around the world.
It comes a few months ahead of the UK’s sugar tax on soft drinks which comes into force this April and follows the scrapping of the stevia-packed Coca Cola Life in the UK last year as sales lost their fizz.
The move also comes as Coca-Cola increases its investment in Coca-Cola Zero Sugar as part of its on-going zero sugar strategy, canning the stevia drink in the process.
The soft drinks’ giant wants to simplify consumer choice between sugar and sugar-free formats.
According to Coca-Cola, this will allow the company to “simplify consumer choice between sugar and sugar-free formats” as it continues to focus on the growth of Coke Zero Sugar and Diet Coke.
Meanwhile, Sustain, a UK-based alliance for better food and farming, is slamming Coca-Cola for maintaining high-sugar content in soft drinks that appeal to children in Britain.
Ben Reynolds, Deputy CEO of Sustain, accuses the soft drinks’ giant of “tinkering around the edges” and not doing enough to help support the movement towards improving children’s health.
“The sugary drinks tax, which Sustain has led the calls for, is clearly having an impact. Companies are finding different ways to deal with the potential price increase, with many reformulating, increasing prices and it now seems some are changing bottle size – all to the good in reducing sugar consumption,” he said.
"But where others companies are responding to changing public tastes and to the public health crisis and the cost this puts on the NHS, Coke is tinkering around the edges. There’s nothing in the reports that suggest Coke is making changes to the prices or sizing of the smaller ‘on the go’ options – the sorts that some kids would drink to and from school.
“The main reason we called for this tax was to improve children’s health, and yet the 500ml bottle and even the 330ml can are at, or exceed, the limits for the total sugar a child can have in a day.”
“Take the 500ml bottle for example – no-one drinks this over two days - it has no place in a country that is trying to help kids cut down on sugar. If Coke had any care for children’s health they would phase this size out altogether.”
By Gaynor Selby
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