1978 UK & Ireland commercial for Fresca.

Fresca is a brand of citrus diet soft drink made by The Coca-Cola Company. First introduced in the United States in 1966, the drink is now sold throughout the world, although it is not widely available outside of North America. Unlike other Coke products, it does not have a Pepsi equivalent (although in many markets, Pepsico licenses, produces and distributes “Diet Squirt,” a very similar beverage owned by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group).

Fresca means “fresh” (feminine form) in Portuguese, Spanish and Italian.


History

Since its introduction in 1966, Fresca has been marketed in the United States as a calorie-free, grapefruit-flavored soft drink, ostensibly catering to discriminating adult tastes. In ads it was described as an “imitation, citrus-flavored, artificially sweetened dietary beverage”. Fresca underwent several major ingredient changes since its introduction. The drink was originally sweetened with cyclamates, which were banned by the FDA in 1969, and the banned ingredient was replaced with saccharin. However, in 1985, the saccharin was replaced by NutraSweet-brand aspartame. More recently, around the time of the 2005 redesign, acesulfame potassium was added as a secondary sweetener.

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote that Fresca was the favorite drink of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had a button installed on the desk in the White House’s Oval Office which would summon his military aide to bring the drink.

In addition, Fresca was the favorite drink of the expansion teams in the NHL during the 1967 season; therefore, Fresca was originally slated to be the sponsor to the NHL the following year. However, the NHL board of governors rejected the proposed sponsorship.

In Latin America, Coca-Cola markets an entirely different soft drink under the Fresca brand name. This drink is grapefruit-flavored, but contains sugar. Colombia is the only country in which this drink is distributed with the name Quatro using Fresca’s same colors, logos and stickers.

Fresca belongs to the family of citrus-flavored sodas. It is similar to the Squirt soft drink marketed in the United States by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. In 1997 Coca-Cola, which had had requests for “Mexican Fresca” from immigrant communities, launched the soft drink throughout the U.S. as Citra. However this was not successful as a separate product line, and that drink is now sold as the Citrus flavor in the Fanta line in areas with large Hispanic populations.

Fresca has so far managed to defend its niche of the market, and, like Tab, can rely on a relatively small but loyal customer base.

Fresca packaging has been redesigned several times, although advertising continues to emphasize sophistication. In 2005, Coca-Cola gave Fresca a more contemporary look, Fresca’s first makeover since 1995. During this redesign, two new flavors were introduced (Sparkling Peach Citrus and Sparkling Black Cherry Citrus) and the original grapefruit flavor was renamed Sparkling Citrus. Later, “Sparkling” was dropped and the original flavor was renamed Original Citrus. Several additional flavors have been added to the line-up since 2005.

info gleaned from Wikipedia

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