| USA TODAY
Coca-Cola getting rid of popular diet soda TaB by end of year
Coca-Cola’s first diet soda, TaB, debuted in 1963.
Perk up, coffee lovers and Coke fans.
A combination beverage from Coca-Cola brings a new way to get a caffeine fix.
Starting Monday, Coca-Cola with Coffee and Coca-Cola with Coffee Zero Sugar are available nationwide in ready-to-drink coffee aisles in stores, the company said. The new drinks, which are infused with Brazilian coffee, were first announced in July.
“Many people are often torn between reaching for a soft drink or a coffee at 3 p.m. at work, at school or on the go,” said Brandan Strickland, brand director, Coca-Cola Trademark, in a news release. Now, you don’t need to leave Coca-Cola to get your coffee fix.”
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Coca-Cola with Coffee is available in three flavors – Dark Blend, Vanilla and Caramel – while the zero-sugar, zero-calorie version comes in Dark Blend and Vanilla.
All 12-ounce cans have 69 mg of caffeine while Coca-Cola says the same serving of a Coke has 34 mg and a Diet Coke has 46 mg of caffeine. The average cup of coffee has 95 mg of caffeine.
There are 70 calories in the Coca-Cola with Coffee, half of the calories in a 12-ounce can of regular Coke. A single can of the new coffee will retail for about $2.32, the company said.
The U.S. is the 50th market to launch Coca-Cola with Coffee, which was first piloted in Japan in 2018. The company says it tailors the recipe in each country to “meet local tastes.”
It’s not the first time Coca-Cola has had a soda with coffee in the U.S. In 2006, Coca-Cola Blak was launched but then was discontinued two years later. Some reviews of the product said the drink had a brutal aftertaste.
Coca-Cola says in its preliminary consumer testing, more than 80% of consumers who tried the new product would buy it.
Caleb Bryant, associate director of food and drink at global market research firm Mintel, told USA TODAY that ready-to-drink coffee is one of the fastest-growing beverage categories and is particularly popular among Millennials and Gen Z. Beverage categories have also been blurring together, Bryant said.
“This is a great example of a drink that blurs together carbonated soft drinks and coffee,” he said of Coke’s new product, noting other blended categories include coffee and energy drinks and alcoholic coffee drinks.
Rival Pepsi also planned to release its own soda with coffee in 2020 but said in a statement to USA TODAY that high consumer demand for its core and existing portfolio impacted the launch of Pepsi Café Original and Pepsi Café Vanilla. The company said it is looking to roll out new flavors in 2021.
Last week, Greek yogurt company Chobani announced new ready-to-drink cold brew coffees in bottles. The coffee comes in four flavors.
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Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko