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Coca-Cola Retiring Storied Tab, Other Products in Brand Cull

By Eric Volkman – Oct 19, 2020 at 10:57AM

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The diet soda first hit the market in 1963.

Coca-Cola's (KO -0.45%) first diet soda, once a hugely popular product, will soon belong to history. As part of a reorganization of its business that includes reducing its large brand portfolio, the company will stop manufacturing Tab, according to an article published Friday in The Wall Street Journal.

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola revealed that it aimed to cut loose more than 50% of its 500 brands. This process has already begun; earlier this year the company shut down the Odwalla juice line and announced it was discontinuing Zico coconut water.

Crushed empty soft drink can

Image source: Getty Images.

Quoted by the Journal in an early October article about the brand cull, an unnamed Coca-Cola spokeswoman said that its initial brand rationalization moves come "at a time when we are hyper focused on delivering on our consumers' wants and needs."

Among the brands the company is considering for retirement, according to the Journal, are Coke Life, Diet Coke Feisty Cherry, and Sprite Lymonade. The strategy is to narrow the portfolio to brands that have the potential to be large-scale products, like its signature namesake sugary drink.

Tab was a prime candidate for discontinuation. It made up a mere 0.1% of the roughly $22 billion in diet cola sales worldwide last year, according to statistics compiled by and quoted by the Journal. Much of this was due to the massive and enduring popularity of the company's main product in the segment, Diet Coke, which was No. 1 with 35% of the total.

In addition to the product eliminations, the reorganization will also result in the layoffs of thousands of its workers in North America and an unspecified number abroad. As of the end of 2019, Coca-Cola employed over 86,000 workers in its operations around the world.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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