Change Is Coming To Coke Zero Whether You Like It Or Not

We've already weathered so many changes in the last year, wouldn't it be nice if our favorite drinks just stayed the same? Unfortunately that isn't the case for Coke Zero as there's a new version of the popular no-calorie soft drink hitting shelves now.

According to CNN, Coca-Cola announced that they'll ship the "new and improved" version of Coke Zero to stores this month. The changes to the soft drink are meant to further align the Zero edition with the look of the classic Coca-Cola that's been around for decades, and hopefully further strengthen brand devotion. That includes ditching the mostly black labels for red cans and bottles with striking black lettering. But the main change will be the updated secret recipe, one which the company says will taste "closer to that [of] the iconic Coca-Cola."

Perhaps it's an effort to sway more regular drinkers over to Zero — in fact, one CNN reporter who tried the old and new versions side-by-side said the flavors are very similar, with the new version tasting slightly sweeter than before. But we'll see if fans agree as things often get hairy when you mess with peoples' favorite beverages.

The changes coming to Coke Zero

One thing that's staying the same is the way Coke Zero is sweetened: with artificial sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame potassium (via CNN). According to the Coca-Cola Company website, aspartame is the same ingredient used to sweeten Diet Coke, and together with acesulfame potassium, also known as Ace-K, the combo gives sodas sweetness and a "crisp" taste.

This isn't the first time that the company has gambled with changing its sodas to win new customers, while risking the loss of diehard fans. In 2017, Coke Zero became Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, and the controversial changes were very similar to now: new labels and a flavor tweak, according to USA Today. And of course, Coke will never live down it's '80s-era debacle of attempting to phase out the original Coca-Cola formula for New Coke, a move that caused a serious uproar among fanatics and sent the company scrambling to undo the change. 

Fans are already not happy about this move

Coca-Cola announced the upcoming changes on their Twitter account, and fans already appear skeptical — and somewhat upset. One Twitter user asked, "What did you change? It was already good enough." Another foreshadowed that the company was repeating their 1985 New Coke mistake (see, they'll never live it down!). Another Twitter commenter didn't mince words: "Why am I almost absolutely sure you've screwed up the one thing in life that makes me happy?"

Fans outside the U.S. were also quick to ask if these changes would come to their countries, with one Twitter user responding with their honest review: "Here in Mexico it was released last month, I tried it and I'm very disappointed."

It'll probably take time for Coca-Cola to convince a public anxious to get back to the way things were in life in general that this is change is one worth making.