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Coca-Cola has introduced a plethora of fun spins on its classic soda over the years, from Cherry Vanilla to the brand-new Coca-Cola Spiced and Happy Tears flavors announced earlier this month. But the latest flavor innovation from the iconic beverage brand takes inspiration from a decidedly unexpected source: K-pop fans.

Coca-Cola just launched a brand-new soft drink called Coca-Cola K-Wave Zero Sugar, which should be available now in select global markets like the United States, Spain, Singapore, and South Korea. According to a press release, the new beverage is meant to celebrate “fans and their infinite devotion” to K-pop (Korean popular music) artists.

Coca-Cola K-Wave Zero Sugar is the latest addition to the company’s Coca-Cola Creations platform, a line of limited-edition mystery-flavor sodas inspired by unusual concepts. For example, an earlier Coca-Cola Creation from September 2023 called Coca-Cola Y3000 was crafted using insights from both humans and artificial intelligence (AI) on what the future may taste and feel like.

Another Coca-Cola Creation released in June 2023, Coca-Cola Ultimate, was supposed to taste like “experience points” from the online battle arena video game League of Legends. Other flavors in the series have included the outer space-flavored Starlight, pixel-flavored Byte, and the human imagination-inspired Dreamworld.

Coca-Cola K-Wave Zero Sugar
Courtesy of Coca-Cola

Just like the previous Coca-Cola Creations releases, the company is being purposefully vague about what K-Wave Zero Sugar is supposed to taste like. All the press release revealed was that the flavor profile is like “fruity-flavored K-Pop magic.” Eat This, Not That! editor Chris Shott, who recently sampled the new drink at an exclusive tasting event in New York City, said that it had hints of banana flavor that made it taste somewhat like a banana taffy.

Coca-Cola’s decision to base its latest mystery flavor on K-pop listeners isn’t all that surprising when you consider the rapidly growing fanbase for the genre. The music and entertainment data platform Luminate reported in October 2023 that the top 100 K-pop artists racked up a whopping 90.4 billion streams throughout the year, a 42.2% increase from the same time period in 2022.

On top of the K-Wave Zero Sugar launch, Coca-Cola has several other goodies lined up for the K-pop fanbase. Several popular K-pop groups—including Stray Kids, ITZY, and NMIXX—teamed up to drop a new song and music video called “Like Magic” in tandem with the soda release. An artificial intelligence-powered experience available through the Coca-Cola Creations site will allow fans to embed their voices, names, and faces into parts of the music video and then share their personalized version on social media.

Coca-Cola is also dropping a limited-edition line of K-Wave Zero Sugar apparel and accessories in collaboration with the New York-based brand Private Policy. Additionally, it plans to host a live concert on June 2 with performances from big K-pop groups like Stray Kids, ITZY, and NMIXX.

“Immersing fans in the vibrant world of K-Pop, Coca-Cola K-Wave Zero Sugar is a celebration of shared passions from all over the world,” Jung Hyun Kwon, category lead for Japan and Korea at The Coca-Cola Company, said in a statement. “By collaborating with some of the biggest names in K-pop culture, Coca-Cola K-Wave Zero Sugar is bringing fans together through innovative experiences that bring to life their special and unique devotion for their favorite artists, and the powerful impact that K-Pop has on culture.”

Zoe Strozewski

Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe
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