Coca-Cola discontinues low calorie soft drink line Tab amid coronavirus

"It’s about meeting our consumers where they need us to meet them," head of Coca-Cola’s innovation and marketing operations Cathy Coetzer said.

A logo is seen on a Coca-Cola bottle  (photo credit: REUTERS)
A logo is seen on a Coca-Cola bottle
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Tab, a brand of diet cola soft drink introduced by the Coca-Cola Company in 1963, will be discontinued within Coca-Cola's efforts to cut costs amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Coca-Cola announced last month that they would be undergoing a restructuring period which would do away with many of the company's 500+ brands of soft drinks - primarily off-brand or specialty products hemorrhaging money and bringing little to the public offering - eventually cutting down the brand list by "more than half."
This year the company has already closed its Odwalla juice and smoothie line, and has begun to slowly discontinue its Zico coconut water. According to the report, Coca-Cola also intends to retire Sprite Lymonade, Diet Coke Feisty Cherry and Coke Life, among others.
Additionally, Coca-Cola will be discontinuing smaller regional brands such as Northern Neck Ginger Ale, Delaware Punch and Mendota Springs seltzer, the report stated.
"We love our brands, make no mistake," said head of Coca-Cola’s innovation and marketing operations Cathy Coetzer, according to WSJ. "We want to make sure that we create space for new."
While the restructuring also entails layoffs and forward thinking marketing strategies, which Coca-Cola hopes will open the avenue for new brands to emerge, the move surrounds the companies need to cut costs and specifically brands that aren't appealing to Coca-Cola's consumer base.
"It’s about meeting our consumers where they need us to meet them," Coetzer said.
Tab only represented 0.1% of Coca-Cola's $22 billion offering in 2019, according to Euromonitor International. Diet Coke and Coke Zero topped the list, capturing 35% and 22% of the offering respectively.
What's ironic about that is Tab was the first diet soda ever offered by Coca-Cola and through marketing was dubbed the drink "for beautiful people." It became popular in the 70s and was the most popular diet soda by the 80s.
Following Tab's rise to fame, Coca-Cola decided to introduce a new diet soda bearing its namesake in 1982 and the rest was history - with Diet Coke taking over 17% of the diet soda market in 1983 and never looking back.
By 2001, Tab only contributed to 1% of Coca-Cola's total public offering - and was initially discontinued by the company. However, the beverage conglomerate decided to keep the brand alive after its consumer base - which has been described as a cult following over the years of its decline - complained heavily that the soda was no longer available.
Tab had gone under the knife a few times within its existence, earning a few rebranding attempts from Coca-Cola along the way. At one point several alternative forms of the soft-drink were made available, including black cherry, ginger ale, root beer and fruit-flavored variants; such as lemon-lime, strawberry, orange. There were also a caffeine-free, extra and clear versions, made available in the late 80s early 90s.
In 2005, it was branded into a pink colored energy drink. Besides that it has not earned any advertising spending by the company since.
To all the Tab enthusiasts out there, Coezter gave a message of hope: “I say to them: ‘Come on the journey with us to what’s coming next in the reduced-calorie segment."