- Coca-Cola announced a “Coke Zero Sugar refresh” on Tuesday, rolling out an updated recipe and look.
- Some customers on social media are concerned, others are down-right outraged.
- It’s reminiscent of New Coke, which Coke has called “one of the most memorable marketing blunders ever.”
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Coca-Cola just announced changes to its Coke Zero recipe – and fans of the brand are having flashbacks to the last time Coke changed its flavor.
In 1985, the company introduced New Coke, an updated recipe that marked the company’s first formula change in 99 years.
Coke-drinkers were shocked that the beverage company would change its classic formula. One went as far as to tell The Washington Post that fans of the soft drink could “worry that maybe the whole country is beginning to fall apart. They don’t even trust themselves anymore.”
Now, consumers aren’t quite as outraged as they were more than three decades ago over New Coke, but social media was quick to remind Coca-Cola of its former recipe change disaster.
“Do we have to do New Coke 2.0? Coke Zero is my lifeline. Please don’t mess it up,” tweeted an art director from Charlotte. “Coke Zero is just about the only soda I drink these days, this makes me nervous… I sincerely hope you didn’t ‘1985 New Coke’ it!” another user wrote.
-Bill Shea (@WmPShea) July 14, 2021
This is not the first time Coke Zero has undergone a rebrand. In 2017, the company tweaked the sugarless recipe to taste more like a regular coke – leaving customers with mixed reviews.
Now, the newest update “optimizes existing Coca‑Cola Zero Sugar flavors and existing ingredients,” according to the company, a change from past recipe changes like the 1985 fiasco is that Coca-Cola that used different ingredients.
“Recognizing that tastes and preferences are always evolving, we’re focused on continuous improvement to give fans the best-tasting Coca-Cola they want,” said Rafael Prandini, a Coca-Cola trademark lead. In a company statement, Prandini said consumers had positive reactions to taste tests of the new Coke Zero.
Some social media users said the new soda has been available in countries like the UK and Argentina for months now, and that they barely noticed a difference in flavor. Others said it tastes flatter and more syrupy than the original.
“I feel duped. I feel like I’ve been lied to,” Charlie Fleming, a popular UK YouTuber, said after trying the refreshed recipe. “If you see the new one, they taste exactly the same. They’ve changed nothing.”
The refreshed Coke Zero will be available throughout the US and Canada starting this August, with full distribution completed in September.