Coca-Cola to Replace Coke Zero in the U.S.

By Jennifer Maloney Features Dow Jones Newswires

Coca-Cola Co. is replacing Coke Zero in the U.S. with another diet-soda brand, an effort to hold on to consumers cutting back on sugary drinks.

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Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, which the Atlanta company said Wednesday has been a strong seller in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, will become available in the U.S. in August.

Although both diet sodas are sugar-free and contain the same artificial sweeteners, Coca-Cola said the Zero Sugar recipe tastes more like original Coke and looks more like it, too, with a red circle on cans and bottles in contrast with Coke Zero's black design.

The retooled name is intended to better communicate to consumers that it contains no sugar, as municipalities across the country implement taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages. Both Coke Zero and Zero Sugar are sweetened with aspartame.

In a conference call Wednesday, Coca-Cola Chief Executive James Quincey said the new recipe "will actually help people stay in the Coca-Cola franchise."

The company launched Coke Zero in 2006, but gains by that product haven't compensated for a broad decline in consumption of Diet Coke, said Mr. Quincey, who took over the beverage giant in May.

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Rather than switching to Coke Zero or Diet Coke, fans of original Coca-Cola can now "stay with the brand they love. It just comes with a couple of variants -- one with sugar and one without sugar," Mr. Quincey said.

Imani Moise contributed to this article.

Write to Imani Moise at imani.moise@wsj.com

Write to Jennifer Maloney at jennifer.maloney@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 26, 2017 11:36 ET (15:36 GMT)