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.

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

  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.

    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,

  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. 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.

    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. 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.

  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!

  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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    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

  16. 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!

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