Recently, after reviewing Fanta Select, it was discovered that Coke was testing marketing an alternate version in the Washington, D.C. area. Here’s our look at this Stevia-sweetened beverage, thanks to BevReview reader Howard White, who was kind enough to mail us a can. It’s Fanta Select (Version 2)!
You may recall that what we’re now calling Fanta Select (Version 1) was being tested in Atlanta, Detroit, Louisville, and Memphis as a beverage with “Full Flavor. Half Calories.” This drink used sugar, stevia, and erythritol to sweeten the product. With a 12 oz can containing 70 calories, the taste tolerable, but not awesome.
This Version 2 of Fanta Select is advertised as containing “Full Flavor. 1/3 Fewer Calories,” with a 12 oz can of this stuff containing 90 calories. Stevia and sugar are still in the mix, but erythritol has been kicked to the curb. There’s more sugar in this drink (23 g Version 2 vs. 17 g Version 1).
The drink starts out like you would expect an orange-flavored soda to begin. Sweet, lots of carbonation, orange in color. Unfortunately, it’s downhill from there. Unlike how we felt with Sprite Select, there’s a lot of “fakeness” present in Fanta Select. As the drink passes over your tongue, there’s a strong chemical taste, compounded by bitterness typically associated with stevia-sweetened drinks. The aftertaste lingers, and its not that pleasant. While full-calorie Fanta tends to have a syrupy theme, Fanta Select creates more of a reactive grimace in flavor. This Fanta product is just too mired in bitterness.
Taking our can of Fanta Select (Version 2), we note that the scent is a subtle orange upon opening. Not too overpowering or bubbly on the nose. Like most Fanta beverages, it’s bright orange in color with good carbonation. Just like we felt with Sprite Select (Version 2) vs. Version 1, Fanta Select (Version 2) tastes much more like regular Fanta. It starts out sweet and holds the orange flavor for quite a while. Then like most sugar/stevia combo drinks, its notable when the stevia part kicks in. Unlike Version 1, this take on Fanta Select is a lot less “fake” and chemical in flavor, though there are elements still present. Surprisingly, the drink isn’t as syrupy as regular Fanta, but a bit more subdued. We noted a high amount of bitterness in Version 1; that’s dialed down quite a bit with Version 2. It’s far more palatable and pleasant on the tastebuds. I still feel that Sprite Select tastes more like the original Sprite than its Fanta counterpart can pull off. There’s just something about a fake orange soda that’s very noticeable. Still, if given the choice, I’d take Version 2 over Version 1 any day of the week.
We’ve talked about the difference it taste. The other notable change is the package design for this version of Fanta Select. Version 1 had a very different design for both Sprite Select and Fanta Select, with an emphasis placed on a unique look for the Select product line… white background, small icons representing the flavor, resized logo of the brand, and a standardized placement of the “Select” name. The phrase “Naturally Sweetened” was prominent, along with the callout for “Full Flavor. Half Calories.” The goal of that design seems to be to set apart the “Select” line as something different rather than integrate the “Select” types into the existing brand identities.
Version 2 of Fanta Select takes a different approach, with the overall look of Fanta being represented. However, instead of being mostly orange in color, the background is dark blue, with a large orange Fanta logo standing out quite well in contrast. The “Select” name is also big, but we see a downsized play on the Naturally Sweetened” attribute, as well as the callout of being “Full Flavor. 1/3 Fewer Calories.” It’s familiar, but different, much like a diet spin-off.
Just like we discovered with Sprite Select (Version 2), the question comes down to what level of calorie reduction works best for you… 1/2 or 1/3? The taste is definitely better with the Version 2 lineup, but is knocking just a little bit of calories off the original something that customers will seek out in the marketplace?
Fanta Select (Version 2)
Carbonated water, sugar, citric acid, natural flavors, sodium benzoate (to protect taste), modified food starch, sodium hexametaphosphate, glycerol ester of rosin, Yellow 6, brominated vegetable oil, Red 40
A 12 oz can contains 90 calories, 55 mg sodium, and 23 g carbs (23 g sugars). Caffeine free.
For comparison, here’s a look at Version 1:
Fanta Select (Version 1)
Carbonated water, sugar, erythritol, citric acid, natural flavors, sodium benzoate (to protect taste), modified food starch, sodium hexametaphosphate, stevia leaf extract, glycerol ester of rosin, Yellow 6, brominated vegetable oil, Red 40
A 12 oz can contains 70 calories, 55 mg sodium, and 24 g carbs (17 g sugars). Caffeine free.
Thanks again to Howard for helping us further explore the Select story!