Today I Discovered Fanta Was Invented In Nazi Germany

Today I Discovered Fanta Was Invented In Nazi Germany
Image: Supplied

There are few people who haven’t heard of Fanta. It’s one of the world’s most popular soft drinks and a beloved staple at kids’ birthday parties. Despite its huge brand recognition, many people don’t realise that the product originated in Nazi Germany – just like the Volkswagen Beetle.

On the official Fanta website, Coca-Cola describes the soft drink thusly:

Bright, bubbly and popular, Fanta Orange is a soft drink with a tingly, fruity taste, made with 2 per cent juice and contains no artificial colours or flavours.

Introduced in 1940, Fanta is the second oldest brand of The Coca-Cola Company and our second largest brand outside the US.

Unsurprisingly, there’s no mention of Fanta’s chequered past as a Nazi-era Coke substitute. In the documentary Pepsi vs Cola: The Marketing Battle of the Century, Fanta’s dubious origin is laid out succinctly.

Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Germany was one of the first markets to receive Colca-Cola outside of the US. Germans loved the stuff, and the brand quickly exploded in popularity – it was even an official sponsor of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Unfortunately for Teutonic cola lovers, a trade embargo for Coca-Cola syrup in 1940 resulted in the drink disappearing from shop shelves.

As a result, the German Coca Cola (GmbH) bottling company was forced to improvise. Its manager, Max Keith, experimented with pretty much anything he could get his hands on, including discarded apple fiber and whey (left over from cider presses and cheese manufacturing, respectively.)

The result was Fanta: a vaguely fruit-flavoured soft drink that bore little resemblance to the version we drink today. Indeed, the flavour would change substantially between batches due to its ever-changing ingredients.

Despite essentially being a mixture of foodstuff dregs, Fanta proved popular with Germans. Unlike swastikas and comical little moustaches, it did not fall out of vogue with the collapse of Nazism but continued to go from strength to strength.

In a reversal of Coke’s entry into Germany, Fanta was brought to the United States at the end of the war, this time with an improved formula and distinct orange colouring. The product is now enjoyed globally in more than 100 different flavours. Not bad for a wartime beverage borne out of necessity.

Hilariously, a tone-deaf German ad for Fanta to mark the drink’s 75th birthday ran with the slogan: “we’re bringing back the feeling of the good old days.”

Needless to say, the campaign was not a success and was quickly discontinued.

Today I Discovered is a daily dose of wisdom for Lifehacker readers – the weird, wonderful and sometimes worrying. Most of the time, it’s just mind-blowing. Let us know if you discovered anything that blew your mind in the comments!


  • It’s pendantic of me, but it’s actually just Germany.
    Yes, the Nazis were in power, but saying Nazi Germany suggests there was a part of Germany that wasn’t held or run by the Nazis during that time and/or that all Germans were Nazis.

    It’s an Americanism that has fallen into popular use, akin to how they say London, England instead of London, United Kingdom , despite it being that way for nearly a century, the Americans largely have been oblivious to the change.

    • I’d have to agree. Let’s please stop this Nazi Germany perjorative. Not all Germans were Nazis, not by a long shot, and most look back with horror.

      As Snopes says:

      The truth is simple, even if it doesn’t run trippingly off the tongue: Fanta was the creation of a German-born Coca-Cola man who was acting without direction from Atlanta. This man wasn’t a Nazi, nor did he invent the drink at the direction of the Third Reich. Rather, in an effort to preserve Coca-Cola company assets and protect its people by way of keeping local plants operating, he formulated a new soft drink when it became impossible to produce the company’s flagship product.

      • The headline reads ‘Fanta Was Invented In Nazi Germany’ not ‘By Nazi Germany’. At no point did I suggest Max Keith was a Nazi.

        It’s correct to refer to 1940 Germany as Nazi Germany, just as it’s correct to refer to 1940 Russia as Soviet/Communist Russia. This does not suggest that every citizen was enthusiastic about the regime.

        • You’re not wrong in what you say, but it’s a very thin distinction.
          Unsurprisingly, there’s no mention of Fanta’s chequered past as a Nazi-era Coke substitute.
          Fanta’s dubious origin is laid out succinctly.

          It’s not explicitly stated, but there’s enough innuendo to suggest that Fanta has some association with the regime, rather than small piece of pleasure during a very miserable time for everyone.

          I think we can all agree the Germans have paid for their sins, and we can now stop reminding everyone of their past atrocities.
          Because none of us look too good in that light, should we look a little closer.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!