SA's TaB drinkers still have time to say farewell

Business Insider SA
Photo: Coca-Cola
  • Last year, Coca-Cola announced that the popular no-caffeine, no-sugar drink TaB would be discontinued in South Africa.
  • But the “retirement” will be gradual.
  • TaB will only disappear from local shelves by end-2022.
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Coca-Cola South Africa has confirmed that the nation’s TaB fans still have almost two years to wean themselves off the drink.

While TaB sales were halted in the US at the end of 2020, a spokesperson says TaB will be “gradually” retired in South Africa until the end of 2022. TaB won’t be available in South Africa – its last remaining market - from the start of 2023.

TaB was launched in 1963 as Coca-Cola's first sugar-free cooldrink brand, aimed at consumers who wanted to "keep tabs" on their weight.

The original TaB packaging: Source: The Coca-Cola Company

It was eventually eclipsed by Diet Coke, which came onto the market in 1982. But in South Africa, TaB remained popular as, for many years, it was the only diet brand that didn't contain caffeine. But the “Coca-Cola No Sugar No Caffeine” drink is now also available in South Africa.

“If not for Tab, we wouldn’t have Diet Coke or Coke Zero Sugar. Tab did its job," Kerri Kopp, group director for Diet Coke, Coca-Cola North America, said in the statement. 

In October last year, the company announced that TaB would receive the chop alongside a couple of other “underperforming” drinks that were on offer in the US, including Coca-Cola Life, Diet Coke Fiesty Cherry and Sprite Lymonade.

A spokesperson said in a statement that the products will be retired so that the group can better focus its resources.

 “This isn’t about paring down to a specific number of product offerings under our brands. The objective is to drive impact and growth. It’s about continuing to follow the consumer and being very intentional in deciding which of our brands are most deserving of our investments and resources.”

(Compiled by Helena Wasserman)

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