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Kia Ora Juice – A Soft Drink with a Century-Old History

Can you imagine a flavor, packaging, or label of a juice that doesn’t exist in the 21st century? Still, even with such a wide variety of options, the feeling of nostalgia has a huge impact on us. Therefore, often we prefer old, well-known, and beloved flavors rather than new alternatives. A perfect illustration of this reasoning is Kia Ora — a juice that has made a name for itself among soft drink lovers with its simple name and unforgettable taste.

Even though you might adore Kia Ora juice, chances are that you’re not aware of the meaning behind its name. Let’s explore the history of this brand and see how it was able to win the hearts of the British people.

Please leave a review or any memories of this snack in the comments at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

What is Kia Ora Juice?

Kia Ora is a soft drink brand that is sold in concentrated form. It’s produced by Atlantic Industries, but since this name isn’t quite known, we will tell you that it’s a subsidiary of the Coca-Cola Company. This means that it is a business entity that is wholly owned or partially controlled by the parent company.

The phrase Kia Ora comes from the ancient Maori language and means “be well.” Like the Italian word “Ciao,” Kia Ora is a universal term and is used for both greetings and farewells.

Before the production of Kia Ora juice passed into the hands of Coca-Cola, the Kia-Ora brand name was also associated with Cadbury Schweppes, which is a confectionery company of British origin — the second-largest confectionery brand in the world after the well-known and beloved Mars.

Surprisingly, Kia Ora juice was once almost the only drink you could buy before entering the cinema. This orange-flavored soft drink was bottled in a clear plastic container and had such a bright orange color that it was sure to catch your eye. Although you can still buy Kia Ora juice these days, it will always be remembered as one of the most popular and desirable drinks of the 1970s and 1980s

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History

The first lemon-flavored Kia Ora juice was sold in 1903 in Sydney, Australia. That’s when the Dixon family bought the brand and established the first Kia Ora juice factory in Melbourne. Back then, a great variety of products were produced in Australia under the Kia Ora brand, including fruit drinks, concentrated fruit juices, and essence.

Following the success of the original version of Kia Ora Juice, the Dixon family was able to expand their range of drinks and indulge the consumer with a variety of flavors, such as mixed fruit, raspberry, and blackcurrant. Soon, they also produced a sugar-free version of the juice, which increased the popularity of this product even more.

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In 1961, Kia Ora was acquired by the Campbell Soup Company of the USA. Afterward, the brand continued to operate under its name for a while. But then in 1969, their products began to be branded with the Campbell name, and soon the Kia Ora name finally disappeared from its country of origin.

How did Kia Ora Win the Hearts of the British?

In 1917, Kia Ora Juice appeared in Great Britain, but this time with orange and lemon flavors. In 1929, after the drink gained popularity, Dixon sold the rights to its production to the Coca-Cola Company, and since then, this company has owned the brand in Great Britain. Kia Ora Juice became one of the most popular soft drinks in the 1970s. You would rarely see a movie theater where you wouldn’t find Kia Ora Juice bottled in cardboard boxes.

Throughout the 20th century, Kia Ora Juice has maintained an unwavering love for consumers as it became a drink that locals enjoyed with their favorite British snacks. The brand enjoyed particular popularity among children and adults living in the United Kingdom. 

Over time, the success of the Kia Ora brand has declined, and the main reason for this has been the appearance of competing juice companies in the UK. Kia Ora could not compete with the marketing campaigns of other soft drinks, such as the confrontation between Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Because of this, Coca-Cola discontinued all variations in the UK apart from Orange and Sugar-Free Fruit Mix, including:

  • Kia-Ora Orange, Pineapple, and Passion Fruit
  • Kia-Ora Pear & Blackcurrant
  • Kia-Ora Raspberry

3 Most Beloved Flavors

1. Kia Ora Mixed Fruit

Kia Ora Mixed Fruit

It’s rare to find a soft drink company that doesn’t add a line of blended fruit-flavored juices to its lineup. Even Fanta and Sunny decided to produce mixed fruit flavors next to the original tastes. The reason for this is that consumers often prefer a combination of flavors. During those times when we’re not sure exactly what we want, the mixed fruit option is irreplaceable. 

Perhaps it is because of this marketing theory that Kia Ora decided to produce a mixed fruit variant, and fortunately, the expectation was justified as this variation became one of the most popular soft drink options. Kia Ora Mixed Fruit Juice is the best choice at any time of the day, not only because of its delicious and unique fruit taste but also because of its active revitalizing effect.

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Kia Ora Mixed Fruit consists of apple, red currant, strawberry, cherry juice concentrate, and citric acid. To give it its characteristic bright color, the company used anthocyanins from the grape skin, and sodium citrate was used to regulate the acidity. As for sweetness for Kia Ora Mixed Fruit, such sweeteners as aspartame and sodium took care of the taste.

2. Kia Ora Orange

Kia Ora Orange

Due to its pleasant flavor and high content of ascorbic acid, orange juice is one of the most sought-after juice flavors worldwide. This is confirmed by popular brands, such as Orangina and Capri Sun. Along with these widely beloved orange juices, Kia Ora Orange Squash also has a strong and pleasant taste typical of oranges.

Together with a 10% concentrate of orange fruit, the company employed citric acid to strengthen the flavor of Kia Ora Orange Squash. Kia Ora Orange Squash also contains antioxidants and carotenoids, so it has a low-calorie density and is rich in vitamins and minerals. Consequently, Kia Ora is an excellent source of vitamin C, selenium, and phosphorus.

3. Kia Ora Blackcurrant

Kia Ora Blackcurrant

Kia Ora Blackcurrant is a concentrated, low-calorie soft drink made with fruit juice and contains no added sugar.

Juices with a black currant flavor are distinguished by their special sweetness and acidity. Blackcurrant is a tall shrub with fragrant leaves and blooms mainly in May-June. Blackcurrant fruits contain sugars, free acids of lemon, apple, and wine, and vitamins P, B1, A, and C.

Is Kia-Ora Vegan?

At first glance, fruit juice seems like a suitable choice for vegans. After all, it is a drink rich in beneficial vitamins and flavors, right? Nevertheless, there are some details that vegans should consider before consuming fruit juice.

The thing is that some fruit juices contain small amounts of animal products. Therefore, if you’re a vegan, you should carefully study the juice label and find out which specific additives your favorite juice consists of.

Another warning for vegans is that sometimes manufacturing companies add substances of animal origin to the juices in order to improve the taste and shelf life of fruit juices. A great example of this is gelatin, which is derived from animal products or honey. You may also have noticed that some fruit juices contain vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which also come from animal sources.

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In the case of Kia Ora juice and other Coca-Cola soft drinks, the company claims that most of its products are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Still, if you want to make sure that the juice you choose is truly vegan, we advise you to read the ingredient list carefully. That’s the only way to ensure that the product is actually vegan and doesn’t contain non-vegan ingredients.

Ingredients

  • Water
  • Citrus Fruit from Concentrate (9.5%)
  • Orange Juice from Concentrate (3%)
  • Citric Acid
  • Acidity Regulator (Sodium Citrate)
  • Flavourings
  • Sweeteners (Aspartame, Sodium Saccharin)
  • Stabilisers (Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose, Modified Starch, Glycerol Esters of Wood Rosins)
  • Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Metabisulphite, Sodium Benzoate)
  • Antioxidant (Ascorbic Acid), Colour (Carotenes). 
  • Contains a source of Phenylalanine.

Nutrition

Serving Size:250 ml
Amount Per Serving
Calories2
Carbs0.5g
Fat0g0%
Protein0%
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 5g
Saturated0g
Polyunsaturated 0g
Monounsaturated0g
Trans 0g
Sodium 1mg
Potassium 0mg
Cholesterol 0mg
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium0%
Iron0%
  • * Percentages are based on a diet of 2000 calories a day.

Logo

Kia Ora Juice Logo

Kia Ora Incident – Unexpected Maori Message

Now let’s discuss one memorable incident around Kira Ora that was related to Coca-Cola’s marketing efforts to combine the Maori language with English. Their decision both astonished and alarmed the locals. In fact, the Coca-Cola Company placed the phrase “Kia Ora Mate” on vending machines filled with the drink, which meant “hello, death” to New Zealanders. This message turned out to be a bit unexpected and confusing for the locals.

Later, the company declared that they had only good intentions and just wanted to use this Maori word as a sign of love and greeting. And luckily, this incident ended without further complications — New Zealanders didn’t feel offended by this misunderstanding.

These days, the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand, Maori, is actively regaining its former popularity. Yes, believe it or not, people these days are trying to learn to speak this language. That could be why some companies that operate in New Zealand try to win the hearts of the locals and use Maori words in their advertising campaigns.

Nevertheless, as we can see, Coca-Cola’s attempt ended with an unexpected result and even created a comical situation.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the success story of Kia Ora is full of ups and downs, but the love that this soft drink has earned in the public speaks only for one thing – Kia Ora Juice has created a brand and a story that people are excited about even after a century.

Please leave a review or any memories of this snack in the comments below. Thank you!

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