Coke Finally Pulls the Plug on Tab and Retire the brand

The National Society of Tab Appreciators—if there is one—had better get to the grocery store fast: Coca-Cola announced today that the 57-year old brand that pioneered America’s diet soft drink sector will be retired by year’s end.

The beverage giant also announced that several other “select underperforming products” will take their final bow this year—including Diet Coke Feisty Cherry, Coca-Cola Life, Sprite Lymonade and regional brands like Delaware Punch. Odwalla, the fruit-juice brand that Coke bought in 2001 for $181 million and whose dissolution Coke revealed this summer, will also be gone by year’s end.

Coca-Cola hinted that an overhaul was coming when it released its second-quarter earnings in July. It referenced “strategic actions that are positioning the system to emerge stronger from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” actions that included “prioritizing brands best positioned for consumer reach and share advantage.”

In this morning’s announcement, Coke’s global head of innovation and marketing operations Cath Coetzer insisted that the portfolio reduction “isn’t about paring down to a specific number of product offerings under our brands. The objective is to drive impact and growth. It’s about continuing to follow the consumer and being very intentional in deciding which of our brands are most deserving of our investments and resources, and also taking the tough but important steps to identify those products that are losing relevance and therefore should exit the portfolio.”

Coke’s net revenues were down by 28% for the second quarter, to $7.2 billion. The company will announce its Q3 earnings on October 22.


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