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People can’t believe the difference between American and European Fanta

Why does the color of the orange soda differ so drastically between the U.S. and Europe?
American Fanta vs. European Fanta.
American Fanta vs. European Fanta.Lowe's / Piccantino Online Shop International

When a brand’s product is sold around the world, it’s bound to look and taste different from place to place based on cultural preferences. And, according to a recent viral post, one popular orange soda is a prime example of this phenomenon.

On Sept. 12, Reddit user u/Opposite_Strategy_43 posted an image in the subreddit r/MildlyInteresting that garnered a carbonated wave of discussion. In the now-viral post, the user shares what a Fanta soda across the Atlantic looks like — and boy, is it different.

“Fanta in Italy has no dyes or artificial flavors,” wrote the Reddit user. The image is striking, at least to folks in the U.S. who are used to a distinctly fluorescent orange soda — Italy’s Fanta is very much not that.

Taking a look at the image, Italian Fanta looks more like a soda of yesteryear (remember Orangina?) with its natural, diluted-orange-juice look.

“It varies by country,” commented one person on Reddit, starting off an international discussion on the soda. “In the UK it’s very yellow. In many countries it’s orange.”

“I remember Fanta in Spain being delicious last time I was there, so much so that I’ve hated it here ever since,” commented a Redditor based in England.

“I’m European and it really is yellow, and from what I’ve seen, it has a color similar to fresh orange juice,” wrote another user.

“The first time I saw a Fanta in the US I freaked out. I already didn’t like soda in Italy, let alone now that it’s fluorescent lol,” wrote yet another Redditor.

But this isn’t the first time the stark contrast between American and European Fanta has gone viral on Reddit. Back in March 2022, Reddit user u/RRR-Craigyroo posted a similar comparison in the r/mildlyinteresting subreddit, comparing “USA Fanta” to “UK Fanta.”

In this post, the U.K. Fanta is even more different-looking to American eyes than the Italian version. It just looks like a bottle of orange juice, if we’re being honest. So, what gives?

The Coca Cola Company, which owns Fanta, did not immediately respond to TODAY.com’s request for comment.

But, according to the ingredients in Fanta Orange, which is sold in England, there’s an ingredient not used in the American version: orange juice. With carbonated water and sugar being the soda’s other top ingredients, U.K. Fanta includes orange juice from concentrate (3.7%), citrus fruit from concentrate (1.3%), citric acid, carrot and pumpkin vegetable extracts, sweeteners, preservatives, natural orange flavorings and other natural flavorings in addition to other ingredients.

Italian Fanta, on the other hand, is made of water, orange juice from concentrate (12%), sugar, carbon dioxide, citric acid acidifier, natural citrus flavorings, acacia gum and ascorbic acid.

These two international Fantas differ from the American version by leaps and bounds. American Fanta contains carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, and less than 2% of the following: citric acid, natural flavors, sodium benzoate, modified food starch, glycerol ester of rosin, yellow 6 and red 40 — not a drop of orange juice to be seen.

The stateside soda’s ingredients differ greatly from sodas in Europe, mostly because of European restrictions on certain chemicals from being allowed in food and drink, but also because of regional tastes. After all, how many times have you heard Europeans say that American foods and beverages are too sweet? In their defense, American Fanta has 73 grams of sugar in a 20-liter bottle, whereas Italian Fanta has 59 grams and UK Fanta has 22.5 grams.