Fanta-Fantastic: How Nazi Germany Helped Create Fanta Soft Drinks

Fanta Orange and Fanta Grape

I was grocery shopping at The Marketplace when I saw something that brought some nostalgic feeling. There were cans of Fanta Grape and Fanta Orange on a display rack. I couldn't help myself and bought one of each flavor. 

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the Soft drinks War between Coke and Pepsi was at its pinnacle. Coca-Cola in some ways had an advantage because of the variety of options it offered including the Fanta products. I think Coke is more popular in the Philippines. 

There was a time when Coke Philippines started bottling Fanta products. Before they started doing that, Fanta products were considered imported goods and could only be purchased through PX stores or at the American Bases (Clark, Subic, and Camp John Hay)  This was the time before Globalization and imported goods were considered gold. 

Our childhood neighborhood sari-sari store sold different flavors of Fanta and it was popular during the Summer months. There was lemon-lime, strawberry, orange, grape, and root beer. They were in glass bottles which made them taste even better. And if I remember correctly, the price per 8oz bottle was less than 2php. Now, a Coke Swakto (190ml) is being sold at 15php. 

For those who are not familiar with the Fanta origin, it all started during World War 2 in Nazi Germany.  When Germany began their world conquest in 1939, the United States imposed a trade embargo. Coca-Cola USA stopped shipping the necessary ingredients (Coke syrup) to its German bottling company, Coca-Cola Deutschland. Max Keith, the head of the company at that time, led the employees in coming up with the idea of using sugar beets, whey, and apple scraps to continue producing a sugary drink. Thus, Fanta (a shortened version of the German word, Fantastich) was born from "leftovers of leftovers". After WWII, when Coca-Cola headquarters took over, they took over the rights of Fanta and started creating Fanta worldwide. Fanta flavors were made in different Coke-producing countries (e.g Brazil-grape, Italy-orange, etc.)

As what happens to a global brand, the Fanta drinks became revolutionized and marketed differently in different parts of the world. Fanta Orange became Royal Tru-Orange in Southeast Asia. Sprite is a variation of Fanta Lemon-Lime and Fanta Root Beer ceased to exist when Coke purchased Barq's in the mid-1990s. 

I watched a documentary about the origins of Fanta on one of the streaming platforms during the Pandemic. And when I attended a World War 2 forum that had food historian, Felice Sta. Maria on its panel, I also shared this tidbit during the Q&A session. 

If you are interested to try the Fanta drinks, it is now available again in the Philippines. Drink moderately.