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Coke Zero search in Idaho falling flat? Distributor explains why your soda shopping isn’t poppin’

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If you drink Coca Cola Zero Sugar, you might have noticed cans of the product have mostly disappeared from shelves in the Boise area. While the bright red case of Coke and silvery-white cases of Diet Coke remain… the deep black Zero Sugar boxes remain elusive.

We reached out to Swire Coca-Cola, the English company that distributes fizzy cans of Coke-branded products across Idaho. As you might guess, the shortage stems from the same challenge that faced toilet paper and yeast buyers this year: the pandemic.

“We are seeing greater demand for products consumed at home,” Swire’s Director of Communications Carl Foster told BoiseDev. “There is also a national shortage of aluminum cans… Together, this is resulting in some particular products being temporarily unavailable or sometimes hard to find in stores.”

[‘Couldn’t be happier:’ Classic drive-thru Hungry Onion reopens after closure, dessert venture]

That can shortage, according to the Wall Street Journal, grew roots before the pandemic, with more consumers buying beverages in aluminum instead of plastic or glass. But with many people shifting to more time at home, demand skyrocketed.

Coke Zero Sugar Boise out of stock
The shelf space at a Boise Fred Meyer usually dedicated to Coca-Cola Zero Sugar has an apology note – and Dr. Pepper in its place.
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We asked the Swire folks why attempts to find Coke Zero fell flat while regular Coke and Diet Coke still pop up. They didn’t comment on that — and wouldn’t say if the shortage goes beyond the Boise area.

But Foster did say they are trying to work out kinks in the process.

“We are taking measures to adapt, working to mitigate these challenges during this unprecedented time,” he said. “We appreciate the loyalty of our customers and want them to know that we’re working hard to keep the products they love on the shelves.”

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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