The term “diet soda” slowly takes the path of the dinosaur

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stacked zero cola sugar cans

Photo: Dave kotinsky (Getty Images)

Have you noticed that you see more sodas on the shelves labeled “Zero Sugar” and less labeled “Diet”? I have. There are a lot of carbonated drinks labeled “Zero Sugar” now, and they seem to be proliferating. It’s not that the low fat sodas themselves are going away, it’s just that the wording on the packaging has changed. Companies are replacing the word “diet” with the term “zero sugar” because “diet” is a word that has fallen out of favor with millennials and millennials. CNN Reports on the new trend.

Major drink brands that are starting to use the term include 7-Up, Sunkist, Schweppes ginger ale, and more. Coca-based products are also labeled “zero sugar” now. But Coke and Dr Pepper still come in a “diet” form with a sugar-free option, as the two separate products have slightly different flavors and are aimed at different customers. But “diet” and “zero” are functionally the same product in terms of zero calories and sugar.

Greg Lyons, chief marketing officer at PepsiCo Beverages North America, told the Beverage Digest Future Smarts conference this month that “no Gen Z wants to diet these days.” But he also said Pepsi “will continue to innovate and support this business.”

It’s not that people don’t want to buy calorie-free drinks, the sales are still going strong. According to Mintel, a market research company, the diet soda market reached $ 11.2 billion in 2020. Compared to 2018, sales of diet sodas increased by almost 20%, relative to commodities. fully loaded sweets, which only kept increasing. 8.4%. (The all-sugar versions still sell better overall, but their market isn’t growing as quickly.)

The hope is that young customers will continue to develop the zero calorie market. But there is also a certain language at play, particularly around gender roles, which has influenced the way people view diet products.

In 2005, Coke Zero was introduced to the world. The Baltimore Sun wrote at the time that “the marketing is aimed at a demographic, like the most macho young people and men, who see a stigma attached to the word diet.”

Jim Watson, senior beverage analyst at Rabobank, told CNN that removing the word “diet” is a “gender-neutral way to talk about the same subject.” Alex Beckett, global food and beverage analyst at Mintel, told CNN that the word diet “has started to go out of fashion … with the rise of zero.” So apparently this has been in the works for longer than some of us (namely me) knew.

CNN article goes deeper into the history of diet sodas, with what will happen in the future, such as more soda water and “good for the gut” drinks. It’s worth reading if you’re interested in what you might see on store shelves for years to come.


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