For the first time in more than a decade, a new flavor of Coke is on the way.
The Coca-Cola Company has unveiled Orange Vanilla Coke, a new flavor of the classic drink that will hit shelves on February 25. An Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar will also be making its debut.
The latest fruit flavor follows Cherry Coke and Vanilla Coke, which have enjoyed success in recent years, despite a lack of strong marketing efforts. However, the company says, only 12% of Coke drinkers were showing a preference for flavored versions of the classic soft drink.
“This showed us our fans want choice but are getting it outside the Coke Trademark,” said Kate Carpenter, brand director at Coca-Cola, in a statement. “We knew we had an opportunity to give fans the variety they crave without sacrificing the Coca-Cola taste they love.”
Before settling on Orange Vanilla, Coke considered raspberry, lemon, and ginger flavored versions of the drink. Orange Vanilla, it said, was the clear favorite.
The new Coke offerings come on the heels of fruity flavors of Diet Coke, which were rolled out in the past year. In introducing the new Orange Vanilla Coke, it hopes to ensure the Coke brand doesn’t begin to feel stale with consumers. (Coke has also introduced an alcoholic drink in Japan in the past year and is considering making a marijuana-infused drink as it diversifies its offerings.)
There is, of course, a danger in any change to the classic Coca-Cola formula. In 1985, the company tweaked it and saw a staggering consumer backlash. It quickly reversed course.
Orange Vanilla Coke, though, won’t replace the original. It’s meant as a complementary beverage to boost sales (and claim more shelf space from rival Pepsi).