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Fanta : brand profile

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Carbonated fruit-flavoured soft drink Fanta is a key pillar of The Coca-Cola Company's international portfolio. Although dwarfed by headline brand Coke, it is nevertheless a megabrand in its own right, with worldwide retail sales estimated at more than $12bn. It is the company's #2 best-selling carbonated soft drink worldwide after the Coke family, available in almost 200 different markets. Its brand message, reinforced by its first ever fully global campaign in 2011, is that Fanta represents fun. "More Fanta. Less Serious".

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Competitors

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Brands & Activities

Fanta is sold all over the world, but has been especially popular in Hispanic markets in Latin America and Europe. It is known as Fanta everywhere except Venezuela, where it is marketed as Hit. The group doesn't break out precise figures for the brand, but sales are understood to have reached a peak in 2007 after several years of steady growth. Since then, however, Fanta's performance has been under pressure, and at the end of 2009 the group launched its first global marketing campaign for the soft drink for five years. The group also relaunched the drink in the US with 100% natural flavours as well as new packaging.

Fanta's most successful regions include Brazil, Germany, Spain, Japan, Italy and Argentina, and in many countries it outsells group arch-rival Pepsi. Even the US, long regarded as one of Fanta's weakest markets, has come around. Traditionally, orange-flavoured drinks have never proved especially popular with American consumers, mainly because of the wider availability of fresh orange juice. However, the brand was relaunched in 2001 and US volumes grew substantially over the rest of the decade, especially within Hispanic communities. In 2005 alone the brand surged by 29% (according to figures from Beverage Digest/Maxwell) to almost 168m cases, enough to place Fanta at #8 among the country's top carbonated beverages. Performance was assisted by the phasing out of the group's competing Minute Maid sodas. For 2006, growth was a more modest 7%, to just under 180m cases. Between 2007 and 2009, Fanta experienced a slow decline in the US, falling to just under 170m cases by the latter year. Since then, though, there has been a modest rebound. For 2014 alone, the brand put on 5% to reach record volumes of 194m cases, or 2.2% CSD share (Beverage Digest). It was the #8 carbonated soft drink that year.

Sales in another important market, the UK, have been similarly mercurial. According to figures from Britvic/AC Nielsen, Fanta's sales fell steadily after 2003, from around 150m litres in 2004 to 112m by 2010, before recovering after 2011. For 2015, Nielsen (for The Grocer) estimated take-home sales worth £137m in 2014, up 1% on the year before.

Best-known for its orange flavour, which still accounts for around 70% of its worldwide sales, Fanta is also available in a huge variety of almost 80 other forms including lemon, grape, apple, strawberry, and many others (Japanese melon, lychee, vanilla cream, "birch beer"...) depending on local markets. Fanta Greenz, for example, a melon and lime variant, launched in France in 2003; while Mexican consumers have enjoyed Fanta Naranja Chamoy, a blend of orange and sweet chili since 2004. The group introduced a lower-calorie variant in 2004 in Germany and some other markets under the name Fanta Citrell. Other countries received the same or similar formula as Fanta Zero or Fanta Z (replacing limited-distribution Fanta Light). In 2008, the group introduced a new non-carbonated version in selected European markets as Fanta Still. Fanta Select, a mid-calorie version with natural sweetener stevia, was tested in the US in 2012, but didn't generate significant sales. In 2015, Fanta was launched in capsule form, along with other Coca-Cola brands, for use in the Keurig Kold soft drinks dispenser. Perhaps the most unusual variants were launched in Australia in early 2017. Fanta orange jelly fizz contains miniature jelly pieces and was accompanied by berryu-flavoured Fanta Sour Tingle.

The company has tried a number of unusual marketing campaigns in 2013 to support Fanta's global growth, ranging from edible print ads (in the Middle East) to Fanta Play, a global digital interactive "graphic novel" developing the characters of the brand's cartoon mascots.

Background

Fanta was actually invented in Germany. The Coca-Cola Company established a significant presence in Germany during the 1930s under the management of German-born executive Max Keith. After America entered World War II in 1941, the Nazi government blocked any further imports of Coca-Cola syrup, and the drink was branded as a menace to European civilization. Max Keith initially campaigned for these prohibitions to be lifted. When this failed, in order to keep the factory running, Keith pushed his team to develop an alternative drink with whatever flavourings they could lay their hands on. The resulting substance, a mixture of left-over fruit pressings and whey, was given the name Fanta.

As soon as supplies of Coca-Cola syrup were renewed in 1945, Fanta was discontinued. However as a result of Keith's efforts, Coca-Cola was able to restart production of its main product almost immediately, for the benefit of occupying US forces. During the 1950s, to prevent European bottlers from taking on competing business from arch-rival Pepsi and new lemonade drink 7Up, Coke bought the Fanta formula from its German owners and relaunched the drink, initially in Italy in 1955, followed by other European territories, and eventually in the US in 1960, although sales in the latter market remained minimal until the 2000s.

Last full revision 26th January 2016

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