Tab, Coca-Cola’s diet-soda pioneer and a ’70s icon, is going away


Coca-Cola Co. is canning Tab.

The soda giant’s first diet cola was a pop-culture icon in the 1970s and early ’80s, then faded after the launch of Diet Coke. Even after Tab’s market share dwindled to almost nothing, the beverage company kept the brand going for decades to appease a fiercely devoted base known as Tabaholics.

Coca-Cola
KO,
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 said last month that it planned to slash its 500 brands by more than half, accelerating an ongoing culling effort in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The project is part of a restructuring that includes layoffs and a revamped marketing strategy. Already this year, the company has closed its Odwalla juice and smoothie business and has begun winding down its Zico coconut water.

Now, it is completing a list of additional products to be taken offline this year, including Diet Coke Feisty Cherry; Sprite Lymonade; and Coke Life, a lower-calorie version of Coke sweetened with stevia that the company began rolling out in 2013. Coca-Cola is also retiring small regional brands such as Northern Neck Ginger Ale, Delaware Punch and Mendota Springs seltzer.

Tab represented 0.1% of the $22 billion in global sales of diet cola in 2019, according to Euromonitor International. The top sellers were Diet Coke, with 35% of sales, and Coke Zero Sugar, with 22%.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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