As the soda industry continues to take heat from public-health critics, Coca-Cola is launching four new flavors of Diet Coke aimed at millennials.
The iconic no-calorie drink will come in Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango, the company announced Wednesday.
The new flavors are slated to hit stores shelves nationally later this month in a new skinny 12-ounce can.
“Millennials are now thirstier than ever for adventures and new experiences, and we want to be right by their side,” Rafael Acevedo, Coca-Cola North America's group director for Diet Coke, said in a statement. “We're contemporizing the Diet Coke brand and portfolio with sleek packaging and new flavors that are appealing to new audiences.”
The original Diet Coke will not change, the Atlanta-based soda giant said.
The two-year process to develop the quartet of new Diet Cokes included more than 10,000 interviews and narrowing down the choices from 30-plus flavors, according to Coca-Cola. The company took inspiration from Millennials' affinity for "big... flavors in their favorite foods and beverages – from hoppy craft beers to spicy sauces."
This move comes as Big Soda is criticized for contributing to Americans' unhealthy diets and rising obesity rates. A growing number of municipalities are instituting so-called soda taxes on sugary beverages.
And in 2016, bottled water unseated carbonated soft drinks as Americans' favorite drink for the first time ever, according to Beverage Marketing, a research and consulting company. U.S. consumers bought 12.8 billion gallons of bottled water versus 12.4 billion gallons of carbonated soft drinks.
Fans of Diet Coke's existing cherry and lime flavors can still find them for sale online, according to the company.
"We wanted to take familiar flavors and shake them up. a lot. We want you to take that first sip and go: 'Dang, cherry and lime, you're all grown up!,'" the Diet Coke website says, calling the newcomers "bolder" and "a tasty twist on old favorites."
Launched in 1982, Diet Coke is now available in more than 110 markets around the world. The four new flavors will be introduced in Canada next month.
Coca-Cola stock was $46.05, down 18 cents or 0.38%, in mid-morning trading.