“Diet” soda disappears from store shelves
“Zero Sugar” has replaced “diet” for many calorie-free soft drinks. Canada Dry and Schweppes, 7Up, A&W and Sunkist ginger sodas, manufactured by Keurig Dr Pepper, now qualify their diet drinks as “zero sugar”. (An exception is the namesake brand Dr Pepper, which will always be presented in “diet” packaging in addition to a different sugar-free version.)
The reason for the overhaul: The word “diet” is out of fashion, especially for millennials and millennials.
“No Gen Z wants to diet these days,” he said, adding that the company “will continue to innovate and support this business.”
But dislike of the word diet doesn’t signal an aversion to calorie-free drinks. The diet soda segment, which includes branded diet and calorie-free drinks, has exploded since it reached the mainstream in the 1960s. In 2020, the US retail diet sodas market reached 11.2 billion dollars, according to Mintel, a market research company.
The segment is still much smaller than the regular soft drink market, which was $ 28.2 billion in 2020, but it is growing much faster. Diet soda sales increased by around 19.5% from 2018, compared to just 8.4% for regular soda during the same period, making it an attractive segment for seeking soda makers. growth.
Changing attitudes towards weight loss as a concept means that soda makers need to put less emphasis on the diet brand as they move forward with sugar-free offerings – even when, as in the case of brands. owned by Keurig Dr Pepper, they exactly sell drink.
The tactic could help soda makers pull more consumers, especially younger ones, into the fold. The industry needs these customers if it is to develop the soda market.
The birth of dietetic colas
Diet drinks first became popular in the 1960s.
“It was first stocked among drugs rather than carbonated drinks, but attention quickly shifted to the growing number of people dieting nationwide,” she wrote. Diet Rite was successful, prompting Coca-Cola to introduce Tab in 1963 and Pepsi to start selling Diet Pepsi a year later.
The segment gained momentum over the following years. Seeking to expand beyond Tab, Coca-Cola launched Diet Coke in 1982.
Back then, Coca-Cola faced many of the same challenges it does today: It needed to reinvigorate the Coca-Cola brand and believed that adding a Coca-branded diet option might help.
The company wondered what to name the product. He considered using the nickname “sugar free” instead of diet, but “many saw it as an insult to the main ingredient in Coca-Cola,” according to the post. In the end, the company went with the “diet” because it was “the simplest articulation of the brand promise.”
But a few decades later, Coca-Cola returned to the idea of a branded product that was sugar-free. This time, he wanted to attract the demographics who seemed to shy away from the company’s diet drinks: younger consumers and men.
Zero enters the scene
Other companies also wanted a more neutral way to advertise sugar-free products.
Eliminating the word “diet” creates a “gender-neutral way to talk about the same subject,” said Jim Watson, senior beverage analyst at Rabobank, who told CNN Business that “the diet has definitely become something for people. women”.
But the advent of sugar-free drinks was not just a gender issue – it marked a turning point in the global popularity of diet drinks. Alex Beckett, global food and beverage analyst at Mintel, said the word diet “has started to go out of fashion … with the rise of zero.”
Billing a drink as calorie-free and sugar-free also addresses changing ideas about health and emphasizes the lack of sugar in the drink as a positive attribute in and of itself.
“While the diet designation may be associated with strict diets or deprivations, the ‘zero’ designation has fewer negative connotations, simply corresponding to a cleaner profile,” according to an April Mintel report.
The new recipe hit shelves in the United States this summer, and since then, “we’ve seen that 23% of current Coke Zero Sugar consumers are new,” said Alex Ebanks, company spokesperson, adding that Coca-Cola will continue to invest in the product next year and beyond.
The competition is heating up
As big brands focus more on their sugar-free offerings, they face competition from other categories and new ideas.
A major competitor, according to Mintel’s Beckett, is sparkling water.
“A lot of people switch from carbonated drinks to carbonated water,” he said, because these drinks often contain no sweeteners or calories, and “have a healthier image of health.”
Beyond sparkling water, competitors are entering space with new rotations on sodas. For example: Sodas that promote gut health.
Olipop, a startup that says it’s making “a new kind of soda,” sells retro flavors like classic root beer, vintage cola, and more. The sodas, which range from around 35 to 50 calories each, are made with a blend of ingredients like Jerusalem artichoke and cassava root that the company says promotes digestive health. Poppi, which also sells traditional soda flavors in addition to fruit flavors, makes a similar statement, sporting a “for a healthy gut” label on the front of her brightly colored cans.
“Consumers vote with our wallets, and sugar is something people definitely want less of in our lives,” said Danny Stepper, CEO of LA Libations, a beverage business incubator. “It opens the door to a lot of opportunities and categories,” he said. “Consumers want new things, which opens the door to new ideas. ”