News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 2 to 3 p.m.

Soda fans have 'Zero' chill about Coke product rebranding

KPCC health reporter Rebecca Plevin drinks a Coke Zero. Coca-Cola plans to discontinue the drink in August, replacing it with
KPCC health reporter Rebecca Plevin drinks a Coke Zero. Coca-Cola plans to discontinue the drink in August, replacing it with "Coke Zero Sugar."

Listen to story

Download this story 10MB

Coca-Cola announced this week that it's changing Coke Zero to something called Coke Zero Sugar.

And fans are pretty upset. Next month, Coke Zero will be gone from U.S. shelves.

We spoke with a few KPCC staff members about their love (and hate) for the soda. 

"I get it because it is calorie-free, but tastes better to me than Diet Coke, it tastes a little more like Cola to me than Diet Coke," said health reporter Rebecca Plevin. 

On the other side of the debate was All Things Considered host Nick Roman, who said "[Coke Zero] is a horrible product and I'm glad they're getting rid of it... it doesn't taste like anything worth drinking. I'm a big fan of Diet Coke. Coke Zero is a middling product with no fan base."

Duane Stanford serves as Executive Editor of Beverage Digest. We spoke to him about Coca-Cola's reasoning behind the rebrand, and why people are so passionate about their soda. 

Why are people so angry over this? 

"We see it all the time, people have very particular affinities to Diet Coke vs. Coke Zero... The brand for a very long time inspired a lot of passionate outpouring, and people are attached to it, it is part of their routine, so anytime that Coke talks about changing about a formula its going to get people's attention, and they're going to talk about it."

Why is Coca-Cola rebranding Coke Zero? 

"Coke Zero has actually been bucking the trend of diet soft drinks in general struggling in recent years, and Coke Zero has been one that's actually been able to show some decent growth. And so one of the things that Coke Zero has found is that there's still some confusion over whether there's sugar in it or not, just a plain Coke Zero label isn't necessarily enough, so what they want to do is really hit people over the head with the fact that there is no sugar in this product, you can drink it calorie-free."

Have you tried the new Coke Zero Sugar? What does it taste like? 

"I couldn't tell a significant difference. When I drink soft drinks, Coke Zero is usually my drink of choice so I do have some experience with it. I couldn't tell a big difference, but some of the people I've talked noted that the forward flavor of it is pretty similar, but it is the backend, the aftertaste that they seem to feel like is better."

To listen to the full segment, click the blue play button above.