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Why Did RC Fail?

Up until the late 70s they were a respectable third and had national commercials. Their Diet Rite was the first diet soda. So how come they completely tanked?

by Anonymousreply 75June 9, 2021 12:14 PM

It tasted like cat piss!

by Anonymousreply 1May 30, 2021 3:05 PM

Millennials and Gen Z don't like soda

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by Anonymousreply 2May 30, 2021 3:13 PM

I thought the barf inducing TAB was the first diet soda.

by Anonymousreply 3May 30, 2021 3:31 PM

RC is the welfare cousin of Coke and Pepsi.

by Anonymousreply 4May 30, 2021 3:35 PM


Diet soda really took off with the introduction of Diet-Rite Cola by the Royal Crown Cola company in 1958. Like No-Cal, Diet-Rite initially targeted diabetics and was often placed in the over-the-counter medicine section of grocers. But it soon became clear that the real market was dieters.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi, finding themselves behind the ball, scrambled to come up with their own diet soda offerings.

Coca-Cola’s foray into the diet cola market – dubbed Project Alpha – For the name, Coke executives had ONLY ONE rule, even though its taste was engineered to mimic Coke’s, it couldn’t be called Diet Coke.

Tabb, which was eventually shortened to Tab, eventually won the battle of market testing. Stylized as “TaB,” it was introduced to the world in a series of ads with the tagline “How can just one calorie taste so good?”

by Anonymousreply 5May 30, 2021 3:38 PM

TaB tasted like shit.

by Anonymousreply 6May 30, 2021 3:43 PM

The face of RC...

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by Anonymousreply 7May 30, 2021 3:51 PM

Me and My RC- I really liked those commercials in the 1970's.

by Anonymousreply 8May 30, 2021 3:53 PM

It never had the reach or distribution necessary to squeeze out Coke and Pepsi.

At the time, shelf space and incentives to retailers was everything.

People rarely understand the true advantage of market share:

- Share affects costs and operating efficiencies. In turn, profit margins go up. Sodas cost about the same.

- it locks down both upstream suppliers and downstream distribution.

-It shapes consumer and market perceptions about the product and entire category.

by Anonymousreply 9May 30, 2021 3:59 PM

R5, I remember when saccharin came in tablets and was served in restaurants with coffee/tea for people with blood sugar problems. When I was a kid in the 1960s, there was a liquid version of saccharin called Sweeta that tasted like nose drops.

by Anonymousreply 10May 30, 2021 4:00 PM

It looks cheap. I blame the marketing department. Maybe their target demographic are trailer trash.

by Anonymousreply 11May 30, 2021 4:04 PM

Maybe it can make a comeback like PBR did with the kids.

by Anonymousreply 12May 30, 2021 4:14 PM

I can't understand how people still use saccharine in coffee, especially with stevia and Splenda available.

by Anonymousreply 13May 30, 2021 4:17 PM

^ It's like how people still craved Tab (before they discontinued) when there were much better diet drinks available. It's like how there are people who still drink the mud called SANKA decaf coffee, etc, etc.

by Anonymousreply 14May 30, 2021 4:21 PM

RC has trouble getting distribution. The bottling business has consolidated and there are fewer regional bottlers---usually they sold mixers (ginger ale, tom collins mix) and flavored drinks like cherry or genericlemon-lime and once-independent drinks like Squirt or Dr. Pepper. Think brands like Cotton Club (Ohio) or Rock Creek (DC area, still around but just barely--a Canada Dry bottler distributes them) which were tehse indie bottlers. Now, bottlers often are owned by Coke or Pepsi and don't bottle competing brands. Some companies like Cott (Canadian company that used to have distribution in teh NE and Midwest) produce private lable drinks but don't sell their own. RC has just been squeezed by all this--their distribution varied in the past---easier to find in the Midwest than the West Coast. They also have had quality control problems. I used to be a big fan of caffiene free diet rite---it was OK in the Midwest, but watery in some other places.

by Anonymousreply 15May 30, 2021 4:35 PM

RC is stocked by Meijer in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

by Anonymousreply 16May 30, 2021 4:50 PM

Too snooty.

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by Anonymousreply 17May 30, 2021 4:54 PM

Cott's Cream Soda was one of my favorite soft drinks when I was a kid. Miss that stuff.

by Anonymousreply 18May 30, 2021 5:01 PM

I still get a free 1 liter of RC with pizza delivery here in Chicago.

by Anonymousreply 19May 30, 2021 5:08 PM

Even Pepsi shareholders loved it!

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by Anonymousreply 20May 30, 2021 5:08 PM

I bet r9 and r15 were (or are) managers of grocery stores

by Anonymousreply 21May 30, 2021 11:10 PM

Sorry, I thought this thread was about Roman Catholicism.

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by Anonymousreply 22May 31, 2021 1:26 AM

[quote]I bet [R9] and [R15] were (or are) managers of grocery stores

Sorry to disappoint. MBA and management consultant who did countless studies for clients in various industries.

by Anonymousreply 23May 31, 2021 1:39 AM

^^^r9 that is.

by Anonymousreply 24May 31, 2021 1:40 AM

I think Diet Rite was also a victim of the FDA's cyclamate ban.

Cyclamate + saccharin was like sucralose + aceK and aspartame + aceK... the pair synergized & tasted a lot better than either one individually.

When the FDA banned cyclamate, there was literally nothing BUT bitter-tasting saccharin to fall back on. DietRite went all-saccharin, but the new version was DISGUSTING.

TaB came out AFTER the cyclamate ban, so it was formulated from day one to be less-nasty with saccharin. DietRite, in contrast, risked an even bigger backlash if it changed any OTHER ingredients to try and improve the taste.

RC also pushed the myth that all-saccharin DietRite was "just as good" as the original formula, even though literally EVERYONE knew it wasn't.

When NutraSweet became available, Coca-Cola KNEW it was better, but pitched it as an all-new drink ("Diet Coke") instead of merely a better-tasting TaB (because, officially, there was nothing "wrong" with TaB's taste). Coke HAD to do it, though, because Diet Pepsi jumped on the NutraSweet bandwagon first, and was poised to SLAUGHTER TaB in blind taste tests (because Diet Pepsi w/NutraSweet WAS enormously better-tasting).

Trivia: "New Coke" was LITERALLY Diet Coke sweetened with HFCS instead of aspartame.

The explosive growth of NutraSweet-based diet drinks from PepsiCo & Coca-Cola was a big nail in RC's grocery-store coffin. Almost all the shelf space that USED to go to RC (and DietRite) was hijacked by new diet drinks from the other two.

I think RC also was slow to grasp the importance of NutraSweet in general. Remember, for 17 years, NutraSweet cost 2-4X as much per sugar-pound-equivalent as HFCS, and about 10-40X as much as saccharin. Diet beverages that used NutraSweet were LITERALLY loss-leaders until the last patent fell. RC took the short view & profitably sold small amounts of diet beverages instead of gaining market share while losing money on every bottle sold (the way Coke & Pepsi did). By the time the patents expired & RC embraced aspartame, their "diet soda" market share had fallen to almost nothing.

For ~15 years, PEPSI actually had a patent on AceK+Splenda/NutraSweet. It's why Coke was slow to embrace Splenda... without AceK to take the bitter edge off, Splenda tastes more like saccharin than aspartame. That's why you almost NEVER see sucralose/splenda used by itself in soda anymore. I'm not sure, but I think Pepsi STILL has a year or two left on its aceK+aspartame combo.

by Anonymousreply 25May 31, 2021 1:59 AM

I miss Pepsi One—almost indistinguishable from regular Pepsi. Not available in NYS, though U could get it in Georgia in 2014. Is it still available in some markets?

by Anonymousreply 26May 31, 2021 2:12 AM

My problem with the relaunch of Diet-Rite several years ago is that is contains no caffeine. Zero sugar, zero sodium, zero caffeine! What is the point of a diet cola without caffeine? Just look at sales of caffeine-free Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi.

We were an RC household when I was a kid, in 16 oz. returnable bottles – eight per "carton." If RC was not available, we got Pepsi. There was something about a union disagreement with the Coca-cola distribution drivers in Northeast Ohio back then and, as a union man, my dad did not allow us to buy or use products that had crossed a picket line.

R26 Pepsi One was discontinued more than five years ago.

by Anonymousreply 27May 31, 2021 2:13 AM

Incidentally, Pepsi's decision to go back to aspartame+aceK (vs sucralose + aceK) was a tragedy. The aceK+sucralose formula of Diet Pepsi was literally almost double-blind indistinguishable from "normal" Pepsi. You could tell side-by-side, but if you'd asked for Pepsi & got aceK+sucralose Diet Pepsi without being told, you'd know something was "off", but just attribute it to being a bad batch, or maybe ice made with unfiltered water.

The difference between "aspartame" Diet Pepsi and "aceK+splenda" Diet Pepsi was a lot more than the sweeteners. The "splenda" version was ACTUALLY the drink formerly sold as Pepsi ONE.

Original Diet Pepsi wasn't formulated for "best taste", it was value-engineered to use as little (expensive) NutraSweet as they could get away with & still sell more than Diet Coke. And Coke was even STINGIER with it in Diet Coke, because it was so outrageously expensive. Monsanto milked their NutraSweet patent for every cent it could, and knew it had PepsiCo & Coca-Cola over a barrel.

Pepsi ONE's arrival coincided with the expiration of the last NutraSweet patent. Once aspartame became CHEAP, Pepsi dusted off an earlier Diet Pepsi prototype that was "smoother", sweeter, and preferred by everyone in blind taste tests... but would have cost too much to make & sell at the time.

The arrival of AceK+Splenda made Pepsi ONE *so good*, there was almost NOBODY who preferred Diet Pepsi (with aspartame) to Pepsi ONE in blind taste tests... and as noted, it could almost fool even people who DIDN'T buy "diet drinks". So, they decided to make it the new "Diet Pepsi"...

... and instantly had their own "New Coke" backlash, from people who didn't LIKE the sweeter variant, and PREFERRED the taste of old Diet Pepsi for some unfathomable reason. So, Diet Pepsi not only went back to the old formula, the fuckers never let us have Pepsi ONE back, either :-(

by Anonymousreply 28May 31, 2021 2:22 AM

I drank some Diet Coke about 2 months ago....haven’t had soda in over a year ...and got horribly painful gas. Doubled over. I said “That’s it...never drinking soda again. I hardly ever drank it anyway.”

Then about 2 weeks ago I was in a supermarket & it was very hot outside. I bought some flavored water that had vitamins & minerals in it. I’d never had it before and figured I’d try it. So I got in my car and the water was carbonated. I said...I’m not that thirsty. I don’t want to drink carbonation. But a few days later I was in my car and was very thirsty and an hour from home, so I drank the water. It was partially flat, so I figured it wouldn’t bother me. The next day I had such bad pain I thought I would need to go to an ER...then I remembered the water. Carbonation did it to me. Fucking carbonation.

by Anonymousreply 29May 31, 2021 2:36 AM

Diet Coke with Splenda is the best version of Diet Coke, but it seems to go in and out of availability.

by Anonymousreply 30May 31, 2021 4:05 AM

It was purchased by Victor Posner in about 1974. He siphoned money out of all the companies he bought and most today have failed.

by Anonymousreply 31May 31, 2021 4:10 AM

What kind of “princess and the pea” ass pussy can’t drink carbonation, r29?

Have a beer every once in a while.

by Anonymousreply 32May 31, 2021 4:13 AM

One tip to make present-day Diet Pepsi taste more like Pepsi ONE used to: add 2 packets of Splenda or aspartame per 16-20oz. Be careful... it'll violently foam up for a few seconds. I recommend filling the glass 25%, add the splenda or aspartame, mix, then add the ice & remaining diet Pepsi.

The same trick works to improve the taste of fountain Diet Pepsi & Diet Coke... but for fountain, always use aspartame, not splenda. Fountain Diet Coke/Pepsi uses saccharin (or saccharin+aspartame blend) everywhere but McDonalds & Burger King (and even then, only the corporate-owned restaurants are GUARANTEED to have the all-aspartame version), and adding splenda to the saccharin/saccharin-blend variants makes it bitter.

The reason only McDonalds & some BK stores have the all-nutrasweet version of Diet Coke is that it's not available from distributors because it has short shelf life & needs special handling. 25 years ago, McDonalds convinced Coca-Cola they had the logistics to be their own distributor & enforce its handling rules to keep it fresh, so Coca-Cola makes special manufacturing runs & sells it DIRECTLY to McDonalds.

~15 years ago, BK got Coca-Cola to let them piggy-back all-aspartame Diet Coke orders onto McDonalds' under the same terms. Unlike McDonalds, BK allows franchisees to choose which variant they want, and most choose the 'blend' version.

Gas stations, bars, and other cheap places buy the all-saccharin version of Diet Coke (7-Eleven uses the blend version). So, it's NOT your imagination that Diet Coke from McDonalds (all-aspartame), Wendy's (aspartame-saccharin blend), and Wawa/RaceTrac/Chevron (all-saccharin) tastes different. They ARE different.

I'm not sure about Diet Pepsi's fountain variants. I know they have all-saccharin & aspartame-saccharin blends, but I think THEIR blend ALSO now includes aceK (to counteract the saccharin bitterness). Once again, PepsiCo patented the hell out of aceK blends, so Coca-Cola won't be able to start adding aceK to their saccharin-blend version for a few more years.

by Anonymousreply 33May 31, 2021 5:40 AM

Anything diet tastes like crap

by Anonymousreply 34May 31, 2021 12:30 PM

Cyclamates are illegal in the USA and legal in Canada

Saccharin is illegal in Canada and legal in the USA

Therefore Sugar Twin uses cyclamates in Canada and Saccharin in the USA

by Anonymousreply 35May 31, 2021 3:18 PM

Canadian Coke Zero uses cyclamates instead of ace-K. It tastes one million times worse.

Ace-K really is the perfect replacement for the Classic Coke formula.

by Anonymousreply 36May 31, 2021 4:04 PM

Omg just drink the real thing. These diet ingredients are worse than sugar.

by Anonymousreply 37May 31, 2021 4:50 PM

I have not read ONE comment here yet, but I go by a usual liquor/lottery store because they have cold RC colas in the fridge. And they taste like my '70s childhood. So if you don't like it, fuck you alright?

by Anonymousreply 38May 31, 2021 4:53 PM

Do you remember this, r3?

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by Anonymousreply 39May 31, 2021 8:28 PM

RC Cola - "It's right for you"

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by Anonymousreply 40May 31, 2021 8:47 PM

You can find RC in almost every grocery store/gas station in my city.

by Anonymousreply 41May 31, 2021 9:00 PM

RC was Meathead's favorite soda. There was an episode of AITF where he took a blind taste test to prove he could tell the difference between RC and Coke.

by Anonymousreply 42May 31, 2021 9:12 PM

RC is much, much better than Pepsi. Coke is still number one to me, but RC is a close second. You'd have to hold a gun to my head to get me to drink Pepsi.

by Anonymousreply 43May 31, 2021 9:16 PM

Goodbye Saccharine

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by Anonymousreply 44June 1, 2021 1:14 AM


Obviously a man of taste

by Anonymousreply 45June 2, 2021 3:36 PM

[quote]Ace-K really is the perfect replacement for the Classic Coke formula.


by Anonymousreply 46June 2, 2021 3:36 PM

When I visited Tucson many of the restaurants there still serve it. So, there’s that.

by Anonymousreply 47June 2, 2021 3:49 PM

RC was the Mountain Dew of colas, with the same socio-economic implications.

by Anonymousreply 48June 2, 2021 3:49 PM

Mom: "We have soda at home."

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by Anonymousreply 49June 4, 2021 7:16 AM

R29, could be colon cancer blocking your colon and causing gas to build up.

See a doctor.

by Anonymousreply 50June 4, 2021 7:22 AM

[quote] RC is the welfare cousin of Coke and Pepsi.

No that would be me.

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by Anonymousreply 51June 4, 2021 7:25 AM

I used to stock the soda aisle in a NE Ohio grocery store 1975-77. This was when the preferred packaging was 16 0z glass bottles sold as an 8 pack carton. Next most popular size was the 32 oz glass returnable bottle. 2 liters were just coming out but they were pricy. Also went flat quickly.

Pepsi outsold Coke 2:1. Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Light outsold Tab but Fresca was popular. RC and Diet Rite were third. Cotton Club and Cotto were less expensive.

by Anonymousreply 52June 4, 2021 7:39 AM

Did you get any hot cock from handing out freebies, R52?

by Anonymousreply 53June 4, 2021 8:20 AM

[quote]What kind of “princess and the pea” ass pussy can’t drink carbonation

I hate carbonated beverages as well. Not so much because I double over in pain but because I just don't find them refreshing.

by Anonymousreply 54June 4, 2021 8:48 AM

I remember the product as a young child in the 1960s and realized it was something on its way out even then. By the 1970s I realized it was not only a distant third in terms of public regard, but noticed that it appealed to the budget conscious cola purchaser: poor people's Coke.

Why anyone liked Pepsi might have been a mystery, but RC was vile, a synthetically syrupy sweet version of radiator fluid, its only appeal its small cost savings and maybe the diet version for fatties?

by Anonymousreply 55June 4, 2021 9:52 AM

Incredibly, this is a topic of interest even beyond Data Lounge.

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by Anonymousreply 56June 4, 2021 1:04 PM

I inherited my father's dislike of "any name that's just initials, whether it's a man or a product, or a name of a business."

by Anonymousreply 57June 4, 2021 2:40 PM

[quote] Why Did RC Fail?

For reasons which are well known to them.

by Anonymousreply 58June 4, 2021 2:45 PM

I often heard the sodium in RC was off the charts.

by Anonymousreply 59June 4, 2021 2:49 PM

The article at r56 explains it all. Coke destroyed RC Cola’s diet drink by funding dubious studies to get the sweetener banned. It’s not dangerous but still banned in the US.

by Anonymousreply 60June 4, 2021 2:53 PM

A lot of people thought it meant Republican Cola and it was subsequently regarded as heinous and quite possibly poisonous ☠️

by Anonymousreply 61June 4, 2021 2:57 PM

Why must gay men be so obsessed with labels..like fatties……..drag queen….trannies……aren’t we all just faggots.. Can’t we just accept each other and move on without all the back biting?

by Anonymousreply 62June 4, 2021 3:04 PM

Wtf r62? 😳

by Anonymousreply 63June 4, 2021 3:06 PM

Well..someone said in a post on this thread….the fatties liked RC cola. …..i thought..well that’s rude

by Anonymousreply 64June 4, 2021 3:08 PM

I never knew they made furniture too. Does anyone own a piece?

by Anonymousreply 65June 4, 2021 3:32 PM

RC Cola...sad last days.

by Anonymousreply 66June 5, 2021 2:34 AM

[quote] Did you get any hot cock from handing out freebies, [R52]?

This was before sampling became a “thing”. Oh, I was 16-17 years old and quite dorky, so no.

by Anonymousreply 67June 5, 2021 5:01 AM

i remember trick or treating in the 70's and someone gave me a RC cola as a treat. i thought that was the greatest thing ever.

by Anonymousreply 68June 5, 2021 6:14 AM

If you really want something great, get a Cheerwine if you come across it!

by Anonymousreply 69June 5, 2021 6:22 AM

It didn’t fail, it’s not like them fancy brand names at Walmart. Down at the dollar tree we always get our RC drank on.

by Anonymousreply 70June 5, 2021 7:24 AM

Purple drank!

by Anonymousreply 71June 5, 2021 4:18 PM

It sure as hell was no Fanta.

by Anonymousreply 72June 9, 2021 7:54 AM

It didn't have "it."

by Anonymousreply 73June 9, 2021 8:00 AM

because it was so misunderstood

by Anonymousreply 74June 9, 2021 8:33 AM

Because they went pro-trans and put black trans women of color in charge of the marketing.

by Anonymousreply 75June 9, 2021 12:14 PM
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