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August 10, 2017

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Fickle consumers ditch coconut for colas

IN the last two years, coconut water has become increasingly popular in China, because of its rich nutrients, low calories and unbeatable freshness. But move over, coconut, consumer tastes are fickle. This year the novel drinks are transparent coffee, wheatgrass yogurt and new flavors of diet colas.

Pepsi Blue

This summer, berry-flavored Pepsi Blue is being promoted on the Chinese online community. A bit odd, since the cola was first launched by PepsiCo in 2002 and discontinued in North America two years later when sales proved disappointing. The soda, however, has remained popular in the Philippines and Indonesia.

The blue-colored Pepsi hadn’t appeared in the Chinese market before, so many people consider it a new product. Consumers are always looking for something new.

A search on shows that a 330-milliliter can of Pepsi Blue sells for about 10 to 15 yuan (US$1.49-US$2.23), and a 450ml bottle costs 15 to 20 yuan.

The coloring agent in the drink is Blue 1, a controversial blue dye used in foods and soaps, shampoos and mouthwash.

Cola-flavored chicken wings have become popular with youngsters in China. The dish braises the wings in Pepsi Blue to extract sweet and savory tastes. When some people tried to substitute traditional colas in the dish, the result was quite dreadful.

‘Weight-loss’ colas?

Coca-Cola Plus was launched in Japan in March, claiming fiber added to the sugar-free, calorie-free drink would improve health and help control levels of triglycerides in the blood.

You can find Coca-Cola Plus on or eBay, where a bottle generally sells for 20 to 30 yuan. Some shops on are even selling Pepsi Blue and Coca-Cola Plus in a combo, even though the two soda giants are fierce rivals.

Ginger and cherry cokes

Coca-Cola’s two new launches in the Chinese market this spring — ginger and cherry flavored colas, have caused a passionate divide in taste.

Some people have included the two colas among the “most terrible drinks” list compiled online by netizens. Also on that list are Oriental Leaf tea, red Scream, kvass, HeySong sarsaparilla and Laoshan Oldenlandia water. Netizens said the cherry flavor offered by Coca-Cola tastes like cough syrup and bitter apricot seed.

“If you hate someone, then gift them cherry Coke,” posted a Weibo user with the online name of Krystal.

Not everyone agrees.

Some people like the two newest Coke favors. That’s probably because there is a tradition in China of adding freshly boiled ginger to regular Coke as a way of easing the symptoms of common colds.

Colorless coffee and tea

The world’s first colorless coffee, Clear Coffee, was created by two Slovakian brothers. Their company CLR CFF has been marketing it since April. The faintly brown beverage has the same taste as coffee and promotes itself as a coffee that won’t stain the teeth.

“This refreshing beverage is made from high-quality Arabica coffee beans and pure water,” according to the company’s promotion blurb. “It is produced by methods never before used. It is unique in taste.”

Clear Coffee is priced at 8.49 pounds (US$11.15) for two 200ml bottles on Amazon UK.

One customer review of the product described it as “expensive coffee-flavored water.”

Also in April, Suntory launched a transparent lemon tea that combines Lipton tea leaves and lemon juice. Also a first in the market, this product smells and tastes like regular lemon tea.

Barley grass yogurt

Well-known Shanghai dairy brand Bright Food introduced a new barley grass yogurt this summer with claims that it will help control weight.

Packaged in a small cuboid bottle, the yogurt has a muted green color with tiny, dark green flecks of ground barley grass.

Barley grass powder has long been quite popular in China as a dietary supplement rich in nutrients, antioxidants, chlorophyll, enzymes and amino acids. The powder is usually mixed with water, milk or yoghurt.

The barley grass yogurt is great to grab from convenience stores on the way to work in the morning. The taste? Well, mainly standard yogurt with a little bit of a grassy, sour flavor.


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