Tab, stylized as TaB, is a diet cola soft drink produced by The Coca-Cola Company, first introduced in 1963, and was created by Coca-Cola after the successful sales and marketing of Diet Rite cola, owned by The Royal Crown Company; previously, Diet Rite had been the only sugarless soda on the market. Tab was “marketed to consumers who want to keep ‘tabs’ on their weight.”
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. 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 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked the mandatory health labels in 2000, deeming no correlation between saccharin and cancer in humans. Additionally, in December 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency removed saccharin from its list of hazardous substances.
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 now usually 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), the United States (including the U.S. Virgin Islands), Spain and Norway.