One year after introducing the world to a new lineup of fruit-infused colas, Diet Coke is back at it again with two surprising new beverages.
On Wednesday, the brand announced the released of Diet Coke Strawberry Guava (which has an eye-popping pink-striped can) and Diet Coke Blueberry Acai.
The new Diet Cokes join the four fruit flavors introduced in January 2018: Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango.
The colorful expansion comes amid the rising popularity of flavored sparkling waters while, at the same time, consumers are drinking less soda.
So have trendy drinks like LaCroix been inspiring the Coca-Cola company to update its lineup? In a word, yes. “This was very much inspired by our extensive consumer research where we learned that younger Americans have an affinity for bold, yet refreshing and great-tasting, flavors in their favorite foods and beverages — from hoppy craft beers to spicy sauces,” Kerri Kopp, group director for Diet Coke, told TODAY Food. Introducing "bolder tastes" is part of the brand's strategy to keep up with changing consumer tastes.
While acai might be considered a "superfood," Kopp told TODAY that the new Diet Coke flavor doesn't have any special nutritional benefits. However, the brand has been experimenting with beverages like Diet Coke with Fiber and Diet Coke with Coffee but, as now, there are no plans to release those enhanced flavors in the U.S.
So what do the new fruit flavors actually taste like? The mix of super sweet fruits and classic cola proved polarizing for many TODAY staffers.
"I really like Diet Coke. Maybe these flavors are meant to appeal to people who don't like Diet Coke? It's very sweet," one taster said of the blueberry flavor before adding that it tasted like grape soda mixed with Coke. Many tasters echoed that sentiment with one admitting, "It's like a fruity, bubbly cough syrup."
The Strawberry Guava flavor was also dinged for being overly saccharine with bizarre hints of vanilla and a "cookie-like" quality.
"Neither of these really taste like the fruit, it just feels like extra sugar was added for no reason," said another taster who enjoyed 2018's Ginger Lime release.
However, neither of the sodas left a bad aftertaste and some people felt compelled to drink more ... even after acknowledging that the drinks certainly weren't their favorite of the fruity bunch.
Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Diet Coke Strawberry Guava will be available nationwide starting in mid-January, and they're packaged in the taller, thinner 12-ounce cans the brand introduced last year.