With more than 100 flavors worldwide, Fanta is one of the most popular fruit-flavored carbonated soft drinks. Although the Coca-Cola Company now makes the Fanta brand, it was actually invented in Nazi Germany.
The Coca-Cola Company entered Germany in 1929. Ray Powers, an American expatriate, started bottling Coca-Cola in Germany and with hard work, ambition, and lots of marketing, he managed to contribute a lot to the company. In a period of just four years, 100,000 cases per year were sold in Germany by Coca-Cola GmbH.
In 1933, when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, Ray Powers faced many difficulties due to Nazis’ anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism. However, he still succeeded in keeping the company away from the hands of the government, and by 1939, there were 43 bottling plants and more than 600 local distributors.
In 1938, Ray Powers died in a car accident and was replaced by the German-born Max Keith, who also dedicated himself to the company and became even more successful than Ray Powers. His great marketing strategy convinced many people in Germany that Coca-Cola was actually a German product, appealing to industrial workers to “Mach doch mal Pause” (Come on, take a break). Coca-Cola was one of the three main sponsors of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where Hitler was the proud host of the nations of the world.
However, with the beginning of World War II, it was getting harder and harder for Maz Keith to get Coca-Cola syrup from America to make Coke. There was only one choice for Keith: to invent a new drink.
He looked to the ingredients at his disposal, namely, things left over from other food industries and so produced a new orange soda. He even held a competition to name the new orange soda, saying “use your imagination”; the German translation of ‘imagination’, is ‘fantasie’ and in that moment a German salesman, Joe Knipp came up with the name Fanta.
The new orange soda was as popular as Coca-Cola and kept the bottling plants open throughout Germany. In fact, Fanta was so popular that by 1943, more than 3 million cases of Fanta were sold in Germany and in the occupied countries.
Fanta became the most popular soft drink in Europe, with people even using it to sweeten and flavor food due to sugar rationing. Even today, Germans enjoy baking and eating the Fantakuchen (Fanta cake).
When World War II ended, the Coca-Cola Company was able to re-establish drink production again in Europe.
The company discontinued Fanta when World War II was over, but as Pepsi began expanding its range in the 1960s, the Coca-Cola Company relaunched Fanta, introducing it to America among other places.