Diet Coke now wants you to slurp happiness.
The nation's top-selling diet soft drink brand, after 31 years, says it has finally cracked the code on how blend its low-cal formula into a Slurpee that tastes good. The Diet Coke Cherry frozen beverage rolls out exclusively Wednesday at 7-Eleven stores nationally under the Slurpee brand name. But the name will change in late May to Diet Coke Cherry FROST when sales of the frozen drink expand beyond 7-Eleven to other convenience chains and retailers that also sell frozen, carbonated drinks from machines.
With summer almost within tasting distance, beverage giants and convenience store retailers already are preparing for their busiest season. Even as diet and health-conscious consumers push for more sugarless drinks, it's been a challenging path for convenience chains to create low-cal frozen beverages that pass the taste test. 7-Eleven didn't nationally launch its Slurpee Lite platform until spring of 2012.
A 20-ounce Diet Coke Cherry Slurpee has 30 calories and 12 grams of carbs.
Back in the mid-2000's, 7-Eleven briefly sold a Diet Pepsi Slurpee, but that didn't last long. The first diet Slurpee it rolled out nationally was in May, 2012, with Slurpee Lite Fanta Sugar-Free Mango, says Margaret Chabris, a 7-Eleven, spokeswoman.
With more than 7,800 U.S. stores, 7-Eleven is a logical place for the the soft-drink kingpin's diet brand to enter the frozen beverage market. 7-Eleven, after all, is "a setting famous for delivering frozen perfection," says Stuart Kronauge, general manager of sparkling beverages at Coca-Cola North America.
To nudge consumers to try the new drink, 7-Eleven will offer consumers a free coupon from its 7-Eleven app, says Nancy Smith, 7-Eleven's senior vice president of fresh foods and proprietary beverages. Consumers also can text "DietCoke" to 711711 for a free, small Slurpee download.
7-Eleven also plans product sampling of the frozen beverage in at least five markets, says Chabris.
Diet Coke plans to add other diet flavors to the frozen line later this spring, after the beverage expands to other retailers.