7-Eleven’s Latest Brain Freeze: Diet Coke Cherry Slurpee Debuts

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/5wa/

Coming, coming, came. The Diet Coke Cherry Slurpee has officially arrived, just in time for spring. According to USA Today, Wednesday is the day that the highly anticipated frozen beverage finally hits stores, and Diet Coke lovers are breathing a sigh of relief. Consumers have long been visiting 7-Eleven locations to satisfy their Slurpee needs, but up until now, they have been unable to get their hands on the frozen version of the one of their favorite soft drinks: Diet Coke.

USA Today reports that it took the Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE:KO) 31 years to finally perfect a way to blend its low-cal Diet Coke into a tasty Slurpee. It was harder to crack the code on the Diet Coke Slurpee than on other varieties because of the different flavors and ingredients that go into the zero-calorie cola. Now, the Diet Coke Cherry frozen beverage will be available at 7-Eleven stores across the country under the Slurpee brand name, although the Diet Coke Slurpee will become Diet Coke Cherry Frost in late May. That is when convenience chains and retailers outside of 7-Eleven will begin selling the frozen drink.

It’s not entirely surprising that Coke has boosted its Diet Coke Slurpee efforts in recent years, considering the Atlanta-based chain has suffered disappointing sales as of late thanks to health-conscious consumers’ turn away from sugar-laden drinks. Like its rival PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), Coke has worked to push its low-cal options on consumers, but domestic and international sales have still taken a turn for the worse. Even sales of Diet Coke have dropped on account of consumers’ leeriness over artificial sweeteners such as aspartame,  but Coke is still hoping this latest offer is one naysayers can simply not pass up.

It’s safe to say that Coke is hoping that Diet Coke Slurpee can come in to save the day. With spring and summer finally within reach, convenience stores are expecting to see heavier traffic from consumers looking for a way to cool down. Slurpees have proven to be a popular frozen drink that customers tend to splurge on, but now that a Diet Coke Cherry option is available that only packs 30 calories and 12 grams of carbs, shoppers may not even consider it a splurge at all. 7-Eleven already carries another diet Slurpee option in the Slurpee Lite Fanta Sugar-Free Mango, but Diet Coke is expected to enjoy even more fanfare than the current Sugar-Free Mango drink.

According to USA Today, in order to spread the news about the Diet Coke Slurpee, 7-Eleven is offering consumers a free coupon from its 7-Eleven app. Nancy Smith, 7-Eleven’s senior vice president of fresh foods and proprietary beverages, told the publication that customers can text “DietCoke” to 711711 for a free small Slurpee download. 7-Eleven is considered the perfect location to serve frozen drinks because customers often visit the company’s more than 7,800 U.S. stores for their many needs, according to Stuart Kronauge, general manager of sparkling beverages at Coca-Cola North America, who told USA Today that 7-Eleven is “a setting famous for delivering frozen perfection.”

More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet: