Tab, stylized as TaB, is a diet cola soft drink produced by The Coca-Cola Company, first introduced in 1963. The soda 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 later garnered negative publicity when scientists speculated that its main sweetener, sodium saccharin, was a potential animal carcinogen. These studies, done 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.
Tab was introduced as a diet drink in 1963. Coca-Cola's marketing research department used its IBM 1401 computer to generate a list of over 250,000 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. 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 capitalization pattern ("TaB") used in the logo. 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. Tab's popularity began to decline in 1982, with the introduction of Diet Coke. 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.