SA’s favourite diet drink, Tab, gets the can

The Coca-Cola Company will retire select underperforming products by 31 December, which includes Tab

Photo: Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

POLOKWANE – South Africa’s favourite diet drink, Tab, will end its 57 year run in December as the the Coca-Cola Company has announced that it will discontinue the drink as it continues to trim back its product lineup to focus on popular drinks with more growth potential.

The beverage giant says Tab broke new ground in 1963 when it was introduced as the Coca-Cola Company’s first-ever “diet” soft drink sold both in South Africa and the US.

Initially marketed to women, the saccharine-sweetened, zero-calorie soda became a cultural icon in the 1980s and maintained a small but loyal following over the last few decades, primarily among fans who grew up with the beloved brand.

The zero-calorie sparkling beverage category has changed significantly in recent years, both in terms of its core consumer base and preferences and the company says retiring products under Tab paves the way for additional investment in Diet Coke Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.

Photo: The Coca Cola Company

Cath Coetzer, global head of innovation and marketing operations at The Coca-Cola Company, in a statement, said Coca Cola is challenging themselves to think differently about their brands to accelerate transformation to a total beverage company.

“This 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,” she said.

Speaking on the impact Tab has had, Kerri Kopp, group director, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola North America said the drink did its job as there wouldn’t be Diet Coke or Coke Zero Sugar without it.

“In order to continue to innovate and give consumers the choices they want today, we have to make decisions like this one as part of our portfolio rationalization work. We’re forever grateful to TaB for paving the way for the diets and lights category, and to the legion of TaB lovers who have embraced the brand for nearly six decades,” said Kopp.

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