Coca-Cola is calling time on iconic diet soda Tab

TAB soda by Coca-Cola (Getty Images via CBS News)

As Tab-aholics across the U.S. have long feared, Coca-Cola is taking their beloved diet soda off the market. The few Americans continuing to buy Tab, decades after the saccharine-sweetened soda’s popularity waned, will soon have to savor their final sips.

The beverage giant announced on Thursday that it is discontinuing Tab, along with another underperforming drink, Zico Coconut Water. Coca-Cola pulling the plug on Tab comes after the company said in September that it would cut more than half of its 500 brands. In August, Coca-Cola also said it was cutting thousands of employees.

Coca-Cola’s first-ever “diet” soft drink, Tab was introduced in 1963 and in the following years became an icon of sorts. But sales started to slide after Diet Coke was introduced in 1982.

Since then, Tab has maintained a “small but loyal following over the last few decades,” mainly among consumers who grew up with the brand, Coca-Cola said.


“We’re forever grateful to Tab for paving the way for the diets and lights category, and to the legion of Tab lovers who have embraced the brand for nearly six decades,” Kerri Kopp, group director, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola North America, said in a statement. “If not for Tab, we wouldn’t have Diet Coke or Coke Zero Sugar.”

Those words may bring little solace to the operators and followers of the diet soft drink’s fan website “ILoveTab,” which tracks availability of the drink, as well as cultural references to Tab. A  September post alerted followers that the product had recently been spotted in Long Island, New York.

For younger generations who may or may not know of Tab’s existence, one of those cultural references came when Marty McFly ordered a Tab at a ’50s diner in the film “Back to the Future,” thinking it was 1985.

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