The year is 1944 and Berlin is recovering from another round of heavy allied bombing; on the outskirts of the city workers are toiling away in a small bottling plant producing the nations favourite wartime fizzy beverage - Fanta. It was a concoction of leftover pulpy masses, whey and other undesirable ingredients and despite its foul taste, it was a sugary source of national pride in Nazi Germany that was consumed by everyone, from soldiers to high ranking party officials.
Prior to WW2, Coca-Cola was present across the globe, operating through a range of different subsidiaries. Its German subsidiary was a high performer and Coca-Cola was a popular beverage across Germany, even sponsoring the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics. Coca-Cola’s popularity continued to surge up until the US declared war on Germany in 1939, after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour. Shortly after this, the American trade embargo meant that all American businesses were to immediately cut ties with Germany - stopping the supply of Coca-Cola’s long mythicised 7x formula to the Third Reich.
The man in charge of the German Cola subsidiary was Max Keith, a German businessman, who desperately wanted to remain in business and prevent the government from seizing control of his plants. In a frantic effort, he and his chemists devised a Cola substitute made from unwanted leftovers. Struggling to find a name for their new beverage in a brainstorming meeting, Keith shouted for his workers to use their imagination - ‘fantasie’ in German. One of the workers shortened this to ‘Fanta’ and the name stuck.
Fanta surged in popularity throughout the Third Reich’s territories during the war, going on to sell three million cases. This is because it was one of the only sweet beverages available to German citizens. Due to its morale-boosting properties, the government also made it exempt from sugar rationing, so it was also used as a sugar substitute in a range of recipes.
After the war, Coca-Cola regained control of its German subsidiary and rebranded Fanta into Fanta-Orange and changed the recipe. Initially sold in Italy, it has now grown to be a global brand sold in hundreds of countries in a range of flavours. Fanta's origin is a tale of what happens when necessity meets human endeavour. What was once a concoction of scraps in the Third Reich became a fizzy, brightly coloured soda in Italy and is now a drink shared internationally by all types of people.