When you see the headline “Coke is making massive changes to Diet Coke,” your heart may fly straight to your throat, although it seems incredible that beverage leader might have failed to learn the horrific lesson of 1985, a.k.a. “New Coke.” Thanks for the pointless panic attack, Business Insider; turns out, Coke is fortunately smarter than that.
Diet Coke is currently the weak link among Coke products, as health-conscious imbibers flee from its artificial-flavor-filled cocktail; BI notes, “Industry publication Beverage Digest reported Diet Coke U.S. sales by the dollar dropped 1.9 [percent] in 2016.” To renew interest in the flatlining beverage, Coke is adding a slew of new (and energetic, apparently) Diet Coke flavors—Ginger Lime (those Moscow Mules will practically make themselves!), Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange, and Twisted Mango—which will hopefully boost sales without alienating long-devoted Diet Coke followers. The new flavors are already listed on the company website.
BI reminds us that Coke did manage to pull off a Coke Zero relaunch last year, with a name change to Coke Zero Sugar and a new recipe. We asked the only person we know who drinks that brand on the regular, A.V. Club film editor A.A. Dowd, who reports: “Coke Zero Sugar tastes closer to regular Coke, in my opinion. I think I prefer it.” Dowd’s authoritative opinion bodes well for the current state of the Coke test kitchens; we smell a Diet Coke Taste Test in the near future.