Tab (soft drink)

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
The current Tab logo
Type Soft drink
Manufacturer The Coca-Cola Company
Country of origin United States
Introduced 1963[1]
Flavor Diet cola
Variants Tab Clear, Tab X-Tra, Tab Energy
Related products Diet Coke, Coke Zero

Tab (stylized as TaB) is a diet cola soft drink produced by The Coca-Cola Company, introduced in 1963,[1] and was created by Coca-Cola after the successful sales and marketing of Diet Rite cola, owned by The Royal Crown Company;[2] previously, Diet Rite had been the only sugarless soda on the market. Tab was marketed to consumers who wanted to "keep tabs" on their weight.[1][3]

The soda was fairly popular throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and the Coca-Cola Company made several variations of it, including Tab Clear and Tab X-Tra, as well as caffeine-free versions.

The soda later garnered negative publicity when scientists speculated that its main sweetener, sodium saccharin, was a potential animal carcinogen.[4] These studies, conducted on lab rats, resulted in mandatory warning labels on the soda throughout the late 1970s and 1980s. In recent years, the studies asserting saccharin's carcinogenic effects have been largely debunked. Recent studies found the initial findings to be flawed and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked the mandatory health labels in 2000,[4] deeming no association between saccharin and cancer in humans. Additionally, in December 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency removed saccharin from its list of hazardous substances.[5]

After its introduction in 1982, Diet Coke quickly replaced Tab as the Coca-Cola Company's most popular diet cola. However, Tab is still available in some areas. Typically, it is found in supermarkets and convenience stores in 12-ounce cans, by 12-pack or 6-pack. It is also available in some places in two-liter bottles.

As of 2009, Tab is sold in the countries of the Southern African Customs Union (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland (as a caffeine free, sugar free and lower carbonated cola), the United States (including the U.S. Virgin Islands), Spain and Norway (As Tab X-Tra).[1]


Tab was introduced as a diet drink in 1963.[1] Coca-Cola's marketing research department used its IBM 1401 computer to generate a list of over 185,000 four-letter words with one vowel, adding names suggested by the company's own staff; the list was stripped of any words deemed unpronounceable or too similar to existing trademarks.[6] From a final list of about twenty names, "Tabb" was chosen, influenced by the possible play on words, and shortened to "Tab" during development, and designer Sid Dickens gave the name the capitalisation pattern ("TaB") used in the logo.[citation needed]

Tab has been reformulated several times. It was initially sweetened with cyclamate. After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a ban on cyclamate in 1969, saccharin was used. In 1977, the FDA moved to ban saccharin. The ban proposal was rejected by the U.S. Congress, but it did require that all products containing saccharin carry a warning label that saccharin may cause bladder cancer (a regulation eliminated in 2000).[7] Further studies find no evidence that saccharin has yet caused an increase in bladder cancer.[8]

At the height of its popularity, the Tab name was briefly extended to other diet soft drinks, including Tab Lemon-Lime, Tab Black Cherry, Tab Ginger Ale, Tab Root Beer and Tab Orange.[9]

Tab's popularity began to decline in 1982, with the introduction of Diet Coke.[1][3] A formula revision in 1984 blended saccharin with a small amount of aspartame; this is the formula that is currently marketed in North America.[citation needed]

Caffeine Free Tab was introduced in the 1980s with little fanfare and disappeared soon afterward.

In 1993, Coca-Cola released Tab Clear in the U.S., Australia and UK. It was withdrawn after less than a year.

Tab Energy is an energy drink released in early 2006. Though sharing the brand name, Tab Energy does not share the same taste.

Tab sales have been dwarfed by those of Diet Coke, though enough people still prefer Tab to result in a production of about 3 million cases in 2008.[3]

Tab products

Other Tab products


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Product Descriptions: Tab from a Coca-Cola corporate website
  2. Siegel, Benjamin. "Sweet Nothing - The Triumph of Diet Soda". American Heritage. Retrieved 2011-03-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Cult sodas with a history: Tab, from the October 2009 issue of Fortune magazine
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Sugar Substitutes: Saccharin". ShapeFit. Retrieved 2011-03-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Removal of Saccharin from the Lists of Hazardous Constituents and Hazardous Wastes under RCRA and from the List of Hazardous Substances under CERCLA". EPA. Retrieved 2011-03-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. From an article published in the May 1962 issue of Atlanta Magazine
  7. Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer accessed October 12, 2010, National Cancer Institute
  8. The Real Risk of Saccharin from March 10, 1980, The New York Times

External links