Review: Sunkist Citrus Fusion


BevReview fan Ed Rankin recently uploaded a photo to our Facebook Page regarding a new drink he found. It appears to be related to the Sunkist Solar Fusion lineup… but this drink is called Sunkist Citrus Fusion. Thanks to a conversation I had with Ed regarding his finding, we were able to put together this review.

While we’ve covered Solar Fusion pretty extensively here, I can’t say that we’ve heard anything about Sunkist Citrus Fusion. Ed notes that he found the beverage outside of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. He snapped the above photo at a gas station.

By looking at the label design, you can see that it’s very much in-line with the Sunkist Solar Fusion style, especially with the stylized “S” behind the name of the drink. The callout at the top of the drink notes that this is a “Citrus Lime Flavored Soda”, which would explain the green color scheme. We see the mention of “B Vitamins” and “Caffeine” as well.

Interestingly, a PDF we found online featuring a “Label Information Note” dated 3/1/2010 had entries for both HFCS and sugar-sweetened versions, which leads us to believe plans for this drink range beyond the U.S. A quick search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office shows trademark filings on the name “Citrus Fusion” dating January 2007 by Snapple Beverage Corp (The Sunkist beverage brand is now owned by an entity that contains Snapple, Dr Pepper Snapple Group). A more recent January 2009 filing by Sunkist also claims the name. (Interestingly, Everfresh Beverages, Inc. has an abandoned trademark filing for a “non-alcoholic fruit-based juice drink” dating from August 1995.)

Ingredients:

Sunkist Citrus Fusion
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, sodium benzoate (preservative), caffeine, natural flavors, ascorbic acid and calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor), niacinamide (Vitamin B3), calcium pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Yellow 5, pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Blue 1, cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)

The ingredient list is very similar to Solar Fusion, with a 20 oz. plastic bottle containing 300 calories, 115 mg of sodium, and 81 g of carbs (of which, 78g are sugars). The same percentage of nutrients were also found in Sunkist Citrus Fusion, with just 25% of your recommended daily value each of Niacin, Vitamin B6, B12, and Pantothenic Acid.

Just like Sunkist Solar Fusion, Sunkist Citrus Fusion contains 4.1 mg/oz of caffeine department. In comparison, Pepsi contains 3.2 mg/oz while Coke has 2.9 mg/oz. In the fruit/citrus pop category where Citrus Fusion probably will be compared, Mountain Dew has 4.5 mg/oz., Mello Yello has 4.3 mg/oz., and standard orange Sunkist contains 3.4 mg/oz.

Ed he noted that the drink reminded him of “liquid green Skittles candy.” It was very drinkable, more on the sweet side vs. sour. He liked the fact that it was a lime drink, which brought memories of Mountain Dew Distortion to mind. He actually thought it compared favorably to that limited-edition DEWmocracy drink. There was a strong lime flavor present, but it wasn’t authentic, probably more syrupy in nature.

Overall, it appears that Sunkist Citrus Fusion is part of a new franchise of “Fusion” drinks from Sunkist, kicked off first by Sunkist Solar Fusion. While that original version was mandarin orange-infused, this entry seems to be aimed at the lime-lovin’ crowd. Are these drinks being targeted at the likes of Mountain Dew? Well, you’ll have to find them yourself and decide!

Update 9/15/10: Ed writes via the comments: “Since this review I had a better chance to try Sunkist Citrus Fusion and Mtn Dew Distortion side by side and pay better attention to the taste comparison. Distortion is more sour and tastes much more like a real lime; I liked it a lot better. Sunkist is definitely more on the sweet end, for people who look more for that. I am still seeing Citrus Fusion at a few places around here (St. Paul/Mpls suburbs).”