REVIEW: Coca-Cola Zero Sugar (2021)

Coca Cola Zero Sugar  2021 Can

If you’re thinking, “Wait, didn’t Coca-Cola juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust reformulate Coke Zero Sugar?” Yes, it did back in 2017, when it also went from being called Coca-Cola Zero (cool name) to Coca-Cola Zero Sugar (not that cool of a name for some reason).

But a better question to ask is, “Why did Coca-Cola reformulate Coke Zero Sugar again?” Well, apparently, it found a way to make it “more delicious.” Coca-Cola says this updated Zero Sugar version uses the same recipe that’s been available in Europe and Latin America.

But the previous version here in the US was quite delicious and one of my go-to beverages whenever I need some thirst quenching. I don’t think there was anything wrong with it, but tiger parent Coca-Cola thinks there is. However, I’d like to point out that it doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to messing with its core products.

Exhibit A: New Coke.

Exhibit B: Diet Coke with Splenda.

Exhibit C: New Coke.

After comparing both Zero Sugar formulations, I have to say I prefer the old version over the new version. They both come close to tasting like regular Coke, but… ** RECORD SCRATCH **

Okay, so I wrote many words about how I thought the 2021 formulation isn’t as good, but I wrote all of that after drinking one can. However, I deleted almost all of those words because after going back and forth between two more cans of both formulas, I now believe this new one is “more delicious.”

Coca Cola Zero Sugar  2021 Glass

Again, they both have that not quite original Coke flavor. But the new formula makes the artificial sweeteners in the older version stand out a bit more, particularly in the aftertaste. That difference makes this new cola have a flavor that’s more like a regular soda.

Also, not only does this one tastes better, this updated can looks better than the previous red, black, and white design.

Coca Cola Zero Sugar  2021 Designs

Look, unless there’s some crazy New Coke reaction to this where sales completely plummet or the number of signatures on a petition to bring back the old Coca-Cola Zero Sugar reaches six figures, I don’t see a return to the previous recipe. Of course, I’m fine with that because I think this is better. But I’d also be okay if anything I mentioned above causes the old one to return.

Thanks to Impulsive Buy reader, Spotted photo sender, and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar drinker Robbie, for sending me a few cans of the new formula. He prefers the older version over the new one.

Purchased Price: Received from reader
Size: 12 oz can
Purchased at: Sam’s Club
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (12 fl oz) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 40 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

107 thoughts to “REVIEW: Coca-Cola Zero Sugar (2021)”

  1. Hey, your review evolved in real-time, which is the mark of a truly enlightened critic! Well done. Plus, definitely agree about that can — it’s a thing of beauty and a joy forever. Good to know there’s actually some good tastin’ Coke Zero in there as well.

      1. New Coke Zero is horrible! I thought maybe I just had a bad can or too because it tasted flat and too much syrup. But they’re ALL like that. Once again Coca a Cola messes with a good thing. Thanks for making me drink Pepsi Zero Sugar.

      2. New Coke Zero Sugar: 0 milligrams of fat, 0 milligrams of sugar, 0 milligrams of carbohydrates, 0 milligrams of taste.

    1. The “New” Coke Zero (2021) does NOT taste like original Coca Cola. It tastes like Diet Coke, maybe worse. And I previously though Diet Coke was the worse thing on planet Earth! Now, they’ve formulated something even worse. Avoid the new 2021 Zero Sugar Coke and buy the older formula (black can) as long as you can. Hopefully, the pin heads at Coke in Atlanta will realize their blunder and pull the new stuff off the shelves as an act of mercy.

    2. The “more delicious” Coke Zero has as bad an aftertaste as Diet Coke. They ruined in. The good news is that Pepsi Zero tastes great.

    3. It’s awful stuff!!! It made my husband vomit noon stop for a while. Don’t support coke. Their products are crap for your body. They don’t care about you. Care about yourself.!!

    1. I don’t like the New Coke Zero! It taste flat and more like Diet Coke (which I hate)!! Bring back the old recipe!

        1. 2021 Coke Zero Sugar is just Zero, period. As in 0 on a 1 to 10 scale. I gave it a fair try, hoping for the best. Take all the words off the new red can and just put ZERO in big letters. That’s what it is.

      1. Totally Agreed! Congratulations to Coca Cola. They’ve managed to do something that Pepsi has NEVER been able to do…. make me switch to Pepsi! You would have thought that they learned their lesson years ago with “New Coke.” But nooooooo. They had to go and screw up… AGAIN!!!! This new Coke Zero tastes so watered down! Less fizz! Less burn!!! Coke is trying once again to make their product taste like Pepsi, so I’ll just get the Pepsi. Pepsi Zero… you have a new customer!

        1. I really hate to agree, but I must. I taste-tested new Coke Zero Sugar against Pepsi Zero. So sad to admit, but the Pepsi Zero is better. Wonder what the marketing gurus at Coke will say when Pepsi Zero soars above their new catastrophe?

      2. I agree I am EXTREMELY SAD & DISAPPOINTED with the new Coke Zero. It tastes flat, has less flavor and overall extremely sad. I LOVED the old Coke Zero. I have no words to describe my disappointed. Even started trying to drink Pepsi Zero instead. Coca Cola will be loosing a VERY valued customer. It is my only vice. I don’t drink coffee or alcohol. I used to drink 6-7 Coke Zeros a day. Not anymore

        1. I agree with you; as a “professional” coke zero drinker, I prefer the old coke zero. The new coke zero sugar has a flat taste with a bad aftertaste. I switched from Diet Coke to Coke Zero many years ago as Diet Coke has a bad aftertaste and tinny taste. Coke Zero was refreshing with out the aftertaste. This new Coke Zero is horrible. I too, drank loads of this daily as I do not drink any hot drinks – tea, coffee etc. I don’t drink alcohol and this was my go to drink. I am sure the Coca Cola company share price elevated because I was such a strong customer. Not anymore. Sorry Coca Cola this new product isn’t living up to its advertising of better taste. – more delicious. Its just not true. I’ll have to give Pepsi Zero a try as some people have mentioned.

      3. Agree 100% – it taste flat , seems to not have the zip of the previous version. I find myself not drinking it all (glass have finished) where previously it was my “go to”

    2. Good Heavens! I wouldn’t think about TAB for a million dollars, let alone drink one. I agree that Coke has regressed, again taking an almost perfect produce and “improving” it. The 2021 stuff (Coke Zero Sugar) in the red can is disgusting. The TAB line is the perfect insult for Coke Zero Sugar and it fits, unfortunately.

  2. I am definitely going to try this. Having not played Inspector Google yet; what did they change to make this new formula more delicious?

  3. I’m going to be a Coca-Cola Zero Sugar (2021) grinch, here, and say:
    (1) I hate the can. As I commented, when this was first “Spotted”: The coloration of the can implies a FULL-FLEDGED sugar variety, to me. The dark colors and heavy presence, if you will, scream heavy, syrupy, and sugary. And, as a long-time marketing-research/consumer-packaged-goods/packaging-design expert, of sorts (yes, from a career-/professional-standpoint)…I kinda know what I’m talking about.
    (2) I also hate any new versions of sodas that taste like the regular versions. Reason being: I HATE the taste of full-sugared sodas.

    So, there ya have it, from this corner. Feel fully free to disagree (and I’m sure that many will…ha).

    1. Actually! I agree! I think that we both had commented something along the lines of preferring diet pops to regular due to the taste. And I recall being upset when i saw the “spotted” post because Coke Zero is my jam! I prefer Coke zero over diet coke. Gah!!! And now my mind is being messed with…diet…zero…zero sugar…diet caffeine free…now more delicious…bah! Life is already complicated enough.

    2. I certainly disagree with this.. as soon as I saw a glimpse of the can I was like “sweet, new Coke Zero… I love Coke Zero”. Why would I be happy they changed something I loved? Well I truly believe they can make it better. Why did I think it was Coke Zero? Because of the black. Coke Zero has had black cans and labels for as long as I remember so when I saw the black font, I knew.

      I might have complained a bit if they did it like in Mexico / UK. They just have a strip of text with a black background saying “no sugar” above a normal can. Of course, they will be getting the new designs too.

      I hope to try these soon.

      1. Yep. Keep it simple. Leave the Coke Zero alone; it wasn’t bothering anyone. Trash the new 2021 Zero and put it in the Coca Cola Museum along with the 1985 reformulation disaster. Marketing experts should NEVER be allowed to get near the Coke formula.

    3. Agreed on both points. It is also easier to distinguish the older design from the new. The regular and old zero sugar packaging contrast each other well on the shelves.

      Due to a metabolic condition I am averse to fructose so I also can’t stand regular sodas. I much prefered the previous formula over the new one. The new one is fine but the old one had a quality to it that the new formula lacks.

    1. No, but you’ll likely never know the difference. I agree with Marvo in that it tastes slightly better thank before in the aftertaste department, but it was, and still is, by far the best non-sugar soda available.

      And the can looks just like looks incredible awesome. And getting a few sales from Classic buyers grabbing the wrong can accidentally is probably something they’ve banked on.

      1. “. . . but it was, and still is, by far the best non-sugar soda available.”

        For me, diet A&W Root Beer always has been the measure, here–it has, for me, all the root beer flavor of the sugared version, but not the overly-sweet sugar taste and feel. For me, that’s the mark of success for a non-sugar soda version,

    2. NO, no, no. It isn’t just a new can, it’s a fouled up “improved” product in a new can. Actually, I couldn’t give a **** about the can. I throw the can away. The product in the can is awful tasting. Disgusting. 0 out of 10.

    3. No, it’s a fouled-up new formula in a beautiful, attractive new can. But the can has no taste, unfortunately. I have a lot of trouble eating or drinking the can. Too bad the new beverage sucks.

  4. It’s more like Coca-Cola in taste, but lacks carbonation… or perhaps even like the previous version, but flat. Jury is out on this one, but the marketing people at Coca-Cola need to stop messing with perfection. Too many cooks spoil the broth!

    1. Interesting comment about the carbonation. Gah, now I’m really curious to do my own side by side by side by side etc. comparison.

      p.s. Yes! Too many hands in the pot and in the kitchen. 😉

      1. Like the can. But the lack of carbonation is pronounced. It looks flat and taste watered-down. I definitely prefer the old one…I guess it will come back as Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Classic.

        1. Lol. I thought the same thing. Well until the classic comes out I have switched to Dr. Pepper Zero.

        2. I don’t buy cans–I buy Coke. Put it in a plain fruit jar if you want to. But make it taste good. The new Zero lives or dies by it’s taste, not its can. It dies

      1. This new formulation does suck. It is flat , far less carbonation than Coke zero sugar’s previous formulation. It tastes like a cheap knockoff brand for a major grocery store chain.

        1. Could be Kookie Kola Zero from Ed’s Grocery. Bet the knock off flavor would taste better. Of course, it wouldn’t have as nice a can!

    2. This sounds perfect to me. Coke Zero was WAY too carbonated, as most diet sodas are. I’ve never been a fan of heavy carbonation… I like the carbonation levels present in energy drinks.

    3. I agree, bland and flat. Like the can had been opened and sat on the counter overnight.

    4. The new Coke Zero sugar has an aftertaste that is similar to diet coke and seems to be flat compared to previous version. This was the only diet drink that i liked and the new version is un-drinkable in my opinion. Shame, but guess i can go back to water.

  5. TASTES LIKE CRAP. I’m going to have to buy PEPSI from now on. Even if you people change back the formula,I’ll stick to PEPSI ,at least they don’t keep changing up their recipe.

    1. I agree, the new taste is disgusting. So disappointed they changed the flavour. It’s also not very fizzy. I’m going to have to find a new go to drink, It’s put me off buying coke altogether.

      1. First to be honest I’m a Pepsi Zero drinker, that being said I buy Coke Zero if it’s on sale . The old Coke Zero was as close to Pepsi as I could get. So it was on sale so I bought the New Coke Zero. Now when Coke change to New Coke I was a Coke drinker … that’s when I change to Pepsi.

        Ok the New Coke Zero has a horrible after taste, and it makes me burp. Not sure why but I tried it for 3 days.. and tossed the other cans of New Coke Zero away.
        No matter what’s on sale I’m buying Pepsi Zero.

    2. I’m with you there! The new formulation is not for me. For the first time in decades, I’m going to try Pepsi.

  6. It’s too sweet, not as good as the older version. I will go back to regular diet coke which is better than this new version.

  7. The version is horrible. It now has the after taste that diet coke has. Why mess with a good thing. Very disappointed!

  8. Loves the new can. However the taste sucks! Tried it a few times and the aftertaste is awful! I loved Coke Zero because it had no nasty aftertaste which is why I don’t normally drink ANY diet sodas. So happy with Coke Zero but now I’m back to unsweetened tea and water! Does anyone remember when they tried to change the original coke recipe in the 1980’s? Reaction was so bad they had to issue an apology and return to the original formula. Hope this also gspoens with Coke Zero fiasco!

    1. I really love the new can. But I can’t drink the product. So, I have one empty can sitting on my desk so I can stare at it and admire the beauty of the can. As far as cans go, it’s great. But the beverage sucks.

  9. Been drinking come zero with captain Morgan for a long time. New zero has less carbonation and too sweet of a taste when mixed with captain. Gonna have to find a new mixer. Pretty disappointed.

  10. Original Coke Zero formula is a significant improvement over the new improved formula. I’ll be looking for a different product

  11. The new van is ugly like when sports teams add black for no reason. And the soda sucks. Coke Zero 2 was much better than 1. But 3? Blows. Back to Pepsi Zero I guess.

  12. I used to drink about 10 cans of Coke Zero, after trying this new version I’m going back to Diet Coke. Yes the can is ugly too.

    1. I really do love the can. I bought one can, tasted the new Zero, threw away the beverage and kept the can. The can is totally adequate. Just wish they still had a beverage inside that is drinkable.

  13. Horrible taste – very flat and nowhere near as good as the old version. I will stop drinking it!!

  14. Defintely a step in the WRONG direction. Flatter and sweeter – just not as good. Typical from a company that forces Critical Race Theory training on its employees. I am done with Coke, and I will be better off for it.

  15. Horrible, sweeter, less carbonated and with a strong taste of ginger. I might try pepsi max. Used as a wiskey mix, new coke zero is too sweet, may work with rum, usually use pepsi for rum. Wont be buying the new coke zero sugar.

  16. I don’t care for the new improved Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. I feel that the old one came closer to the flavor of the original Coca- Cola, that’s what I’ve been wanting. Guess I’ll try to find something else to quench my thirst. By the way I own some Coke stock, just saying.

  17. I noticed the reduced carbonation right away. Ugh!!! I will be looking for another favorite soda drink tomorrow.

    1. Why? It has a great freshly designed can. You mean you really care about what’s inside? So it tastes awful. Just enjoy the beautiful can.

    1. Gave 12 pack -1 back to the store I bought this toilet water from. Tell the coke people this must have been bad from the stuff collected from canning that was mopped up from the floors

      1. Yep, tastes like water from the toilet bowl. Good analogy. The toilet water has more carbonation.

  18. Ruined my favorite soda. I really liked the mild acidic taste and clean finish. Now it has a spicy tasting finish that I do not like!

  19. I think the new stuff is awful. It taste just like all the other diet drinks with that nasty after taste. I am so disappointed! I stocked up on the old version. It will be a sad day when I drink my last can! I think I will switch to Pepsi Zero…it can’t be any worse then this.

    1. Joe Biden should order the flag flown at half staff for a month in mourning. We mourn everything else, why not the passing of our beloved Coke Zero?

  20. After reading the many comments here, I guess that I should be thankful that I had switched to my supermarket’s own brand of Zero Cherry Cola last year–while not at the top of Coke’s game (with a little lesser carbonation and without a sharper Coke bite), which I sometimes can find at soda fountains, it’s solidly in the middle (and with a lower price point to boot).

  21. After trying the new Coke Zero several times over the past couple weeks, I’m convinced someone at coke found the original posts author and offered them some “marketing $$” to “try it again and see if you like it this time.”

    I keep giving it a chance and it keeps tasting horrible. Too much fake sweet is not a good thing. Also the taste of ginger lingers. I thought I got a bad batch at first, but after trying it at a friends house as well and buying another at a gas station, it still taste like armpit.

  22. The “new” coke zero is a flat tasteless drink. It in no way tastes like the regular coke. I drank coke zero because I am diabetic and would like to live a long life.
    I’m better off just drinking the “diet” coke.

  23. I don’t like the new Coke Zero AT ALL. I will switch to diet Coke. Or better yet, drink more water!

  24. I don’t like the new Coke Zero as much as the old, it’s too flat and the burn has been softened too much, I don’t know what I’m going to switch to, very disappointed,

  25. I don’t like the new flavour of the new Coke Zero. It tastes watered down and the sweetener tastes very artificial.

    1. Just enjoy the great can design, like the rest of us. Every time I pass the soft drink aisle in the store, I stop and just admire the new can. Then, I buy some Pepsi Zero to drink. The Pepsi can isn’t as pretty but the drink is much preferred to the new “Coke Zero.”

  26. Absolutely terrible what we’re the people that did the taste test drunk.What was Coke thinking or were they.

  27. At first I thought I bought a bad batch of Coke Zero. It tasted flat and bland. Then, I noticed the “Now More Delicious” on the red can. Lie. Then I saw the commercials. More Lies! You messed up Coca Cola. You ruined your best tasting soda. I’ll find something else to drink. I’ll drink more water. Not Dasani, but good old tap water.

  28. The new Coke Zero is awful, the original version was very good, the new formula is terrible.

    Pepsi Zero is much better than the new Coke Zero, and is what I will be buying from now on.

    1. Yes, the Pepsi Zero tastes better. But you won’t be able to enjoy the beautiful new Coke can. You’ll be missing out.

    2. That commercial still has my reeling. ” try it first”.
      I did. 2 sips in. I threw it away. Lmao. Tried it, never buying it again. Hey america!!!! Stop believing and falling victim to every commercial being made today. Has no one else realized we lived in the Age of The Con-Man now. Used to be illegal to do things like that, now itll probably have its own college degree soon, ohhh wait it already is.

  29. New Coke Zero is horrible. I don’t know who they have test the formula but it’s obviously not someone who only drinks Coke Zero.

    1. Pre-market taste testing was done in Kosovo, where the people had never before tasted any soda product. They were given the new Coke Zero and asked it it was good. Of course, after a lifetime of drinking nothing but water and dog pee, they thought it was great. Too bad they had nothing else to compare.

  30. They ruined a good thing. Absolutely loved the old version. Also loved the old can. Multiple times have inadvertently drank or been given a regular Coke because now the labels now are too similar. Not a good situation when you are a diabetic!

  31. Its honestly disgusting. And loaded with aspartame. Its basically diet coke with more coke flavor then diet lol. Do your research on aspartame before you go buying this stuff in bulk. Id rather drink a monster then coke zero sugar. By far the most disgusting one theyve made besides the cinnamon. Lol

  32. It tastes horrible, missing that special taste. I thought I bought a bad can but all of them are like that. I am addicted to Zero Coke, can’t drink it now, I guess I am finally giving up.

  33. I tried this version and really didn’t care for it. It has a very harsh ‘fake sugar’ taste to it, being similar tasting to diet pepsi to me. The black can variant had more of an acidic bitey taste to it which I enjoyed much better, also it seemed to have more carbonation. I’ll probably switch to diet coke or one of the generic diet colas from the grocery store (trying the Dillons ‘cola oh’ currently, we’ll see how that compares). I don’t often buy diet or zero and go usually for various mt dew types or monster edrinks, but for mixing with rum or having around the house for when my father visits (he has mild diabetes and doesn’t do well with standard sodas), I’ll have to find a substitute. Dad had similar thoughts on the red zero sugar’s taste. Situation seems very similar to the original ‘new coke’ debacle. I’m not sure the rates of attracting new customers vs driving current ones away, but seems to me to have a high chance of lowering the overall customer base rather than increasing it. I know if I already had a preferred drink, I wouldn’t give a new product a second glance since that need was already filled, on the other hand, if my preferred drink no longer met my expectations, I’d be very likely to move on. That’s just me though, I’m definitely not representative of the entire human population, ha ha.

  34. I LOVE the new Coke Zero. I think it’s the best soda out there. As someone who loves to drink regular coke, but doesn’t anymore due to too much sugar. Coke Zero (2021) is awesome!

  35. Coca Cola you are leaving behind a lot of customers that can’t drink caffeine. I really wanted to taste the new Coca Cola starlight but couldn’t cause it doesn’t come in caffeine free and for health reasons can’t have caffeine. Thank you from an unhappy customer

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