CHICAGO — Coke has zeroed in on a new formula for Coke Zero — again.
This week, the Coca-Cola Company announced plans to replace its existing recipe for Coca-Cola Zero Sugar with a “more delicious and refreshing” version, complete with new packaging.
The new formula, which has already debuted in Europe and Latin America, will arrive in select markets this month, with a complete nationwide rollout expected by September.
Coca-Cola Zero Sugar’s latest “refresh” also comes only four years after its last reformulation in 2017 — a controversial decision at the time.
“Recognizing that tastes and preferences are always evolving, we’re focused on continuous improvement to give fans the best-tasting Coca-Cola they want — with zero sugar or calories — offered in the most iconic packaging and powered by some of our most creative, consumer-centric marketing yet,” said Rafael Prandini, North America’s Coca-Cola category lead, in a news release.
The newest formula is said to “optimize” the existing flavors and ingredients of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, rather than overhaul the taste completely. The sweetening combo of aspartame and acesulfame potassium is unchanged, according to the list of ingredients.
“All listed ingredients and nutritional information remain the same,” according to Coca-Cola.
The packaging is changing a bit more drastically, with a more “simplified” and “streamlined” design, the company says. As part of the new look, the white script reading “Coca-Cola” has been replaced with black lettering, and messaging reading “Now More Delicious” has been added to the label.
Coke Zero, which debuted in 2005, had already reformulated its recipe in 2017 to taste “closer than ever” to classic Coke. At the time, the decision prompted apprehensive fans to start hoarding the original version, though taste-testers for both Beverage Digest and AdAge reported that any differences in taste were minimal.
The impetus for Coke Zero’s latest reformulation, other than “optimizing” flavor, was not detailed in the news release.
“The consumer landscape is always changing, which means we must evolve to stay ahead,” said Natalia Suarez, senior brand manager of Coca-Cola’s North America Operating Unit.