Coca-Cola Will Discontinue Tab After Nearly 60 Years

The once-popular diet soda will be no more after the end of 2020.

USA - Business - Soft Drink Market in the US
Photo: Ramin Talaie / Contributor / Getty Images

2020 has presented unprecedented challenges for even the biggest food and beverage conglomerates. At a time of diminished production capacity, some have had to rethink their product lines, shifting the focus away from more niche items to make sure they can supply enough of their top-selling products.

That's left Coca-Cola facing some hard decisions about the future of certain brands in their portfolio, and a once-iconic soda is now on the chopping block.

According to USA Today, Tab, Coca-Cola's pioneering diet soda, will disappear entirely by the end of 2020. It's making way for a focus on other beverages in the company's portfolio that are either more popular at the moment or potentially more lucrative in the future.

Launched as a zero-calorie, saccharine-sweetened diet soda in 1963, Tab was once the choice of discerning soft drinkers looking to stay slim while sipping something sweet. Since the launch of Diet Coke in 1982, however, it's largely fallen out of favor with consumers.

Though its time has come and gone, the folks at Coca-Cola acknowledge that Tab once played a pivotal role in creating today's market for diet and low-calorie sodas.

"If not for [Tab], we wouldn't have Diet Coke or Coke Zero Sugar," Kerri Kopp, Coca-Cola North America's group director for Diet Coke, said in a statement. "[Tab] did its job."

Given its breadth of products, Tab isn't the only casualty of the great brand culling of 2020. USA Today notes that Coca-Cola's Odwalla juices and ZICO coconut water will soon bite the dust as well. Though these choices may disappoint some ardent fans, the company sees it as the right business decision at a time of comparatively diminished resources.

"The objective is to drive impact and growth… [while] also taking the tough but important steps to identify those products that are losing relevance and therefore should exit the portfolio," said Coca-Cola global head of innovation and marketing operations Cath Coetzer in a statement.

So if Tab is somehow the only soda you'll drink, now is the time to buy it by the truckload. Or just switch to Diet Coke like everyone else did 30 years ago. Your call.

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