The Many Colors of Fanta in Belize and A History You Might Not Have Imagined

Fanta is a critical part of my day to day life in Belize – much like these products that I never used in the states.  Today it is a product of the Coca-Cola company and those products, Coke, Coke Light, Sprite and Fanta are bottled in Belize by Bowen & Bowen Ltd.  The company that produces Belikin beer.  And it is for sale at every single supermarket in the country.

Fanta (4)

In the US, Fanta (at least where I was from) was always sold at Latino markets and in Latino neighborhoods.  Unlike sodas like Pepsi, Coke, Mountain Dew, 7-Up, Sunkist Orange…it wasn’t at the stores of my childhood.  I think I only became aware of it when they started the “Wanna Fanta” commercials with their spokes-singers and dancers, The Fantanas.

Says Wikipedia: According to the Fantanas’s website, they lived on Fantana Island and were accidentally discovered by an entertainment mogul named Sir Juan-Carlos Martinez after he fell off his yacht and was washed ashore on that island, seeing their work.

Awesome.  Here’s one of the old CATCHY commercials.

But Fanta’s origins are not in the Latin world at all.  In fact, they are in…super strangely…Nazi Germany.  Where it was invented when they were cut off from importing American-made Coca Cola.

The head of Coca-Cola Deutschland “decided to create a new product for the German market, using only ingredients available in Germany at the time, including whey and apple pomace – the “leftovers of leftovers”.  It was named after the word “fantasie” in German.  (All Wikipedia.)  For more information on the connection, check out this uber-interesting blog post.

It was discontinued when the war was over and German Coca-Cola reunited with the parent company but then re-introduced in the 50s when Pepsi amped up the competition.

Fascinating, right?

It is now produced in over 90 countries.  And in 100 flavors – Japan, as usual, takes things to the NEXT level.

Here in Belize, we have 8 flavors.  All packaged in the same re-useable GLASS bottles – all with different color bottle caps.

I LOVE drinking soda from a glass bottle.  Just be sure to wipe the mouth.  Because the bottles are cleaned and re-used, the older caps can leave a bit of a rust mark around the outer edge.

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Light blue:  soda water, Pink:  tonic, Green:  Ginger Ale, Brown:  Rootbeer, Orange: orange, Yellow: Pineapple, Purple: Grape. Red:  Fruit Punch

All in line, they look beautiful.  But, though, I drink tons of soda water and have been known to drink an Orange Fanta, iced cold, about five times a year, I really hadn’t tried the others.  Now was the time.  And I enlisted a mystery taster, a chef in San Pedro, to help me judge.

We had 8 bottles, index cards and one rule. Since neither of us are regular (sugar-ed) soda drinkers, the word SWEET was not allowed.  The object:  the write three words or short phrases to describe the flavor.

We started with PINK TONIC – tinted pink so that it is distinguishable from soda water by bartenders – who are grabbing them quickly to make drinks.  It was deemed by the MT (Mystery Taster) to be best in class:  Bitterlicious.  I agreed.  Bitter, refreshing and prickly.

It’s great with rum and lime.  And makes a beautiful mixed drink.

GREEN GINGER ALE:  My favorite but we both agreed, a pretty weak ginger ale by ginger ale or beer standards.  MT asked “Helllloooo?  Ginger…are ya there?”  It is my favorite of the bunch.  Light – a good guzzler.

BROWN ROOTBEER:  While I thought it is classic while very sugary, MT’s three phrases were “cavity, hello Dentist and burp”.

ORANGE:  Orange is a amped up (sugar-wise) version of your childhood orange soda…and a crazy thirst quencher when you are BEYOND PARCHED.  It’s like heaven when you are fresh out of the water after snorkeling.   MT disagreed:  “Vitamin C-sick, poor man’s Tang and headache”.

Fanta (1)

YELLOW PINEAPPLE:  This one made me wonder…were we drinking concentrates?  Were these supposed to be watered down?  This bubble gum, perfume-y, Hawaiian, dayglow fizz was not liked by either tester.  MT called it “Runts Mouthwash” after the sweet little fruit flavored.

runts

PURPLE GRAPE:  This one hits you like a purple punch and leaves you with an almost black tongue.  FLAVORFUL!  I though perhaps a cough syrup, MT called it “Fabuloso” and wrote “Oh good lord”.  At this point, he was entering a sugar coma…and was begging for mercy.  But we can’t stop now…the king of sugar kings!…

RED FRUIT PUNCH:  We agreed that we had saved the worst for last.  We wrote almost the same things on our cards:  Cream soda? and cotton candy mouth.  Shiver.

BLUE SODA WATER:  It’s a light less salty seltzer, delicious and refreshing.  Mix it with any fresh fruit juice…makes me wanna Fanta.

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And I forgot one interesting myth/fact:  it is thought that orange or red Fanta is a main ingredient in the uber-sweet ketchup they serve at the fast food/Chinese shops…that is slathered all over the fried chicken.  Makes sense!

Man.  That was intense.  WHO SAID BLOGGING WAS EASY?  I can only be glad that I DON’T LIVE in Japan (though my brother does…this gives me ideas) where they have flavors like La France, Mellow Muscat, Moo Moo White and Mystery Fruit.

Obviously, this is all subjective.  I dare YOU to take the Fanta challenge and let me know what you think.  Just make sure that you have a few hours afterwards to nurse your headache…

 





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  • rjhawkins

    Orange Fanta is my go-to drink after walking around on a hot day. I think immediately following it up with a rum & Coke reduces the chances of a headache later, replacing it with the more classic hangover . . . . I do go for a soda water with a twist of lime when I want everyone to think I am drinking booze.

    • Well thought out Fanta drinking…I like it. I LOVE the soda wata. Mmmmm….

    • I GATTA WONDER WHY YOU’D WANT PEOPLE TO THINK YOU ARE BOOZIN…..REASON…?

      • rjhawkins

        To get a rise out of you, Moose. Because we just can’t gt enough of you.

        • i couldn’t care if yur drunk or not….
          and….
          there always enough moose….to go`roun.

  • verushka ramasami

    wow pretty cool ! In SA we have Fanta Orange and Grape. While in London I discovered Arabic Fanta in Strawberry and loved it.

    • Orange and grape are classics. Strawberry…hmmmm….

  • mysteryboy

    Did you both drink all flavors at once..and full bottles each???

    When I was a young’un, growing up in the white middle-class Midwest, Fanta arrived when I was about 15 and disappeared 5-6 years later. never saw it again until my initial visit to Belize, MANY years ago.

    • FULL BOTTLES?!?!?!? Are you mad?

      • I’VE READ OTHER POSTS BY THIS INDIVIDUAL…….HE/SHE…JUST MIGHT BE….LOL

        • Moose, I am the sanest person you’ve never met.

          • actually …we have met…a few times…when you had tacklebox.
            above-/- i was referring to ‘mysteryboy’

  • Wilma

    We grew up with orange and grape Fanta in the 60s in Georgia and you can still find them there in grocery stores and convenience stores. Here in the Toledo District, you can’t always find all the flavors you get in San Pedro, but orange, grape, soda, and tonic are fairly common.

    • True…even here rootbeer and Pineapple aren’t always in every store.

      • BARRY’S PINAPPLE….SHOULD ALSO BE OUTLAWED…DUE TO THE SO-CALLED….FLAVOUR

  • Erik Terdal

    Fun post! When you are in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, visit the Coca Cola museum. They have even more flavours in their tasting room.

    • Apparently in some parts of the world, there are mix and match machines where you can create your own Fanta.

  • Henry Mello

    Fascinating, right?

    Fantacinating, right?

    Ther fixed that for you. ;0)

  • BOWEN&BOWEN’S GRAPE SODA SHOULD BE OUTLAWED …SIMPLY B/C OF THE FLAVOR….
    PLS..GIMMY A BREAK …..THAT STUFF SKUS.
    [GIMMY A PEPSI PRODUCT….GRAPE ‘RICA”…ANYDAY].
    AND THE ORANGE….NOT EVEN CLOSE TO PEPSI’S TASTEFULL ”MARINDA” ORANGE……STANDARDS….
    ……
    WILL BOWEN&BOWEN EVEN BE IN BUISNESS ..PAST 10 MORE YEARS.?
    ……
    I GOT A GREAT BARRY , JOKE… BUT IT’S SO. VISUAL;..
    ASK ME IN PERSON…IF YOU HAVENT ALREADY HEARD IT.

    • I’ve never tasted that other Made in Belize kind…but I’m kinda sugared out right now…Grape should not be outlawed…RED MUST BE. I love a grape nehi once and a while…just like Radar.

      • GRAPE RICA AND ORANGE MARINDA..USED TO BE SOLD IN BELIZE…..WITH ALL THE OTHER GREAT FLAVORS FROM PEPSI…[research ”glass hill”].
        IF YOU ALSO ARE A GRAPE SODA FREAK….YOU GATTA TRY A RICA….[NEXT TRIP TO MELCHOR]
        ……
        THE BELIZE ”LEMONADE” brand……IN MANY FLAVORS, IS EXCELLENT. AND TO ME..WAY BETTER THAN BARRY’S.

  • HMMMM…WAS IT NAZIS ,IN SPANISH LOOKOUT , WHO HAD SOME INFLUENCE ON BARRY….?

    • Man! You are on a role. Mennonite Nazis? That’s a STRETCH!

      • there must be loads of x-Nazis in belize.
        probably left over from filling U-boats with the bunker fuel – WW2.

  • OH—ANOTHER THING….. PARENTS….STOP FEEDING YOUR BABIES…SODA POP & MILK……….GESSZZZZZZ!!!
    TRY HEALTHIER…FRUIT JUICES…….
    [and no chipmunk food]

  • Miami Fanta

    We do the Fanta from Mexico orange strawberry grape pineapple all with real sugar I think they are less sweet compared to the American version (high fructose corn syrup) most have a great nose when you open them especially the pineapple and the orange the whole room is filled with that sweet scent of refreshment but oddly enough real fruity in taste! Side note we even have from Mexico squirt all are in a bottle! When was the last time you had a Squirt?