Tab, the very first diet soda from Coca-Cola, is set for discontinuation by the end of 2020. The company is in the process of trimming its portfolio to narrows its focus to products and brands with better potential for growth.
The transition, says Coca-Cola, had quite a bit to do with the coronavirus pandemic, which accelerated the company’s desire to focus on its more popular brands, such as its primary Coca-Cola soda. The company also announced a massive restructuring plan to help optimize efficiency and output newer products with greater speed.
The second-quarter Coca-Cola earnings were met with a 33% decline due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, James Quincy, Coca-Cola’s CEO, who has been at the head of the company since 2017, has noted that Coca-Cola is looking to emerge from this crisis in a stronger fashion.
There are plenty of other drinks that won’t be in production by the end of the year, including Zico coconut water, Odwalla, Diet Coke Feisty Cherry, and stevia-sweetened Coca-Cola Life. The company is set to get rid of regional beverages as well, including Delaware Punch and Northern Neck Ginger Ale.
Cath Coetzer, Coca-Cola’s global head of innovation and marketing operation, said in a recent statement, “It’s about continuing to follow the consumer and being very intentional in deciding which of our brands are most deserving of our investments and resources, and also taking the tough but important steps to identify those products that are losing relevance and therefore should exit the portfolio.”
Discontinuing a beverage like Tab allows the company to invest in the powerhouse brands that it has created.
Robert Bixby, the executive director of the Concord Coalition, as well as a long-time drinker or Tab drink, noted that “Tab had an amazing run.” The catalyst for Bixby’s heartfelt response was a cluster of condolence messages pouring in. “As a business decision I can understand it, but it’s a very sad day … I do feel it’s like losing a friend.”
Bixby, a loyal Tab drinker since the 70s, said he had been preparing for the drink’s end. He said that he had been looking for his new drink all summer, yet all of the diet colas out now were too sweet. “Tab didn’t compete with things, so you could enjoy it with a meal.”
Tab first hit the market back in 1963. The zero-calorie beverage was marketed to women. As the popularity of fad diets increased for Americans during the 1970s and 1980s, the demand for Tab grew. However, the demand eventually went into decline when the company introduced Diet Coke. Tab still has a bit of a cult following, according to the Coca-Cola company.
More than fifty years after the birth of Tab, Coca-Cola is looking to Diet Coke and Coke Zero Sugar to carry the weight of its low-calorie, sugar-free product division. We should expect to see the third-quarter reports from Coca-Cola by the end of next week. The company’s shares have fallen 9% this year so far, shares of which sit at around $216 billion.