A widespread myth in Romania states the following: most brands sold in markets all across Europe (and many even worldwide) come in two different varieties: an improved, more healthy product for markets in Western Europe, and a product that is less healthy and lacks in quality, sold in Eastern European markets. Last winter I decided to put this myth to the test by seeing how Fanta ranks across borders. Just before Christmas, a 1,25L Fanta bottle was smuggled at the check in area of the Tegel Airport, and made its way safely to Eastern Europe. More precisely to the ancient plains of Romania, and further north, the Fanta bottle found itself standing on a table, in a warm wooden cabin, among snow covered peaks. That was all the Fanta was given to see, for the next minute it landed in a cold, dark refrigerator.
Few hours later we had a 1,25L German Fanta (purchased at Lidl in Berlin) and a 1,5L Romanian Fanta (purchased at Mega Image in Bușteni) side by side, and 6 Romanians eager to test them. Were they any different? Which one was better? Here are our impressions:
1. Romanian Fanta
Definitely sweeter, maybe a tiny bit more artificial. The difference was so subtle I even thought it might just be a mild placebo effect, shaped upon my own expectations: to find something less natural, less healthier in the Romanian Fanta. Another person from our group noticed the same artificial note. The greater part of the group enjoyed its sweetness without having any negative comments.
2. German Fanta
Maybe its the bias hitting again, but here goes nothing: in contrast to the first sample it really felt a bit more natural, as if there was some orange juice hiding around there. But that was just my impression. We all thought it was less sweet, and the greater part of the group liked the Romanian Fanta better.
Just as we were about to pick the winner, a surprise contestant came along, determined to win the race:
3. Fanta Klassik
Last month Fanta released a new variety of their drink, based on the original recipe developed in the 40s. Just as their publicity spot announced it, the drink was indeed less sweet than any Fantas we tasted before. The natural orange taste, present in the German Fanta, is covered by new flavors. It’s an enjoyable drink, resembling a lot the soda drink we have today.
Now that we’re done with the subjective part of the comparison, let’s see what the ingredient list on each bottle says:
|German Fanta||Romanian Fanta||Fanta Klassik|
|Ingredients||water, sugar, orange juice made from orange juice concentrate, carbon dioxide, citric acid, citrus extract, natural orange flavor and other natural flavors, antioxidant ascorbic acid, coloring agent carotene, stabilizer guar gum.||water, sugar, glucose-fructose syrup, orange juice concentrate (min. 5%), carbon dioxide, citric acid, natural orange flavor and other natural flavors, antioxidant ascorbic acid, coloring agent beta-carotene, stabilizer guar gum.||water, sugar, whey solid (30%) (contains milk), orange juice made from orange juice concentrate, lemon juice made from lemon juice concentrate, carbon dioxide, apple extract, citric acid, natural flavor, antioxidant ascorbic acid, stabilizer guar gum.|
*recipe variances are marked with red.
As we notice, all recipes are based on pretty much the same ingredients: water, sugar, orange juice concentrate, flavors, carotene, guar gum a.o. But there are a few variances:
- glucose-fructose syrup – a sugar replacement syrup, found only in the Romanian Fanta.
- citrus extract / lemon juice - Fanta Klassik contains lemon juice made from lemon juice concentrate. Today’s German Fanta contains citrus extract. Either way, maybe this shows that the Germans are more into sourness.
- whey solid 30%- used in the original recipe from the 40s, this was probably due to lacking raw materials during the war. Honestly, I expected the whey to have a strong, negative impact on the taste! Surprisingly, I wasn’t able to detect the whey, or anything milky for that matter.
- apple extract – an ingredient no longer contained in today’s Fanta.
As for the nutritional values
|Nutritional values for 100ml||German Fanta||Romanian Fanta||Fanta Klassik|
|Energy||38 kcal / 160 kJ||43kcal, 183 kJ||33 kcal / 139 kJ|
|Out of these sugar||9.1||10.5||7.3|
|Fibre||no information||0||no information|
Summary: All three drinks are loaded with sugar, but there’s less of it in the German Fanta, and even less in the classic Fanta drink. In addition to that, the Romanian Fanta is the only one containing no salt at all.
From here on, the conclusions are yours to draw. Is one Fanta healthier that the other or are all pretty much the same? Have you tasted Fanta from other countries? Did you notice any differences?