Coke fans still reeling from the news that Coca-Cola is changing its bottles are in for an even bigger shift - with two popular Coke products set to disappear from shelves.
Coca-Cola has begun quietly announcing the end of Coke Zero and Coke No Sugar, replacing the two drinks with a new offering: Coke Zero Sugar.
Coke Zero was launched in 2006, nicknamed "Bloke Coke" when it was launched because of its appeal to a male market.
It was followed in 2017 by Coke No Sugar, which sold itself as being closer in taste to original Coke.
In other markets, Coke Zero was phased out, but it was retained in New Zealand.
Signage has now begun to appear in shops, promising that the big change to the sugar-free range is happening next month.
A photo of one of these signs was posted to social media site Reddit, where users discussed the proposed changes.
Many wondered whether the new product would have the flavour of Coke Zero, Coke No Sugar, or something entirely different.
Photo / Reddit
Debate raged in the comments over which of the two soon-to-be-replaced sugar-free options was superior, with opinions divided.
Some preferred Coke No Sugar because they believed it tasted closer to the original Coca-Cola, while others said they liked Coke Zero precisely because of its different taste.
Others had more rarefied tastes, with one user writing: "In my house we buy Caffeine Free Diet Coke just to be those weird snobs."
One commenter, claiming to work for Coke, said the new product was a "slightly different recipe".
"In my opinion tastes more like original Coke than Coke No Sugar or Zero so improvement," they added.
They also had words of reassurance for all of Diet Coke's many fans, saying that the classic sugar-free option is not going to be disappearing from shelves.
Tracey Evans, Head of Marketing, Coca-Cola New Zealand said: "We know there continues to be a growing appetite for no sugar options, with one in two Coca-Cola’s purchased in New Zealand containing zero sugar. Kiwis are one of the biggest no sugar consumers globally and we’re committed to reducing sugar throughout our portfolio to provide delicious options for our customers.
"We’re constantly evolving with the changing nature of New Zealander’s tastes and preferences, and we believe this new recipe will be popular with our current drinkers, as well as Coca-Cola Classic fans who are looking for a zero-sugar alternative. We’re excited to hear what Kiwis think of this exciting new addition to our portfolio, answering the question, 'best Coke ever?'," said Evans.
The new recipe, design and campaign for Coca-Cola Zero Sugar has already launched in Europe, Latin America, Asia, North America and Australia. The new Coca-Cola Zero Sugar is available in a variety of sizes, across all retailers in New Zealand starting from June 2022.
This article was first published by the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.