Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pepsi Baobab - A Very African Soda!

Pepsi Baobab Crazy from Kong
If you read this blog or watch my food / drink review videos on the Crazy from Kong youtube channel then you will already be well aware that a lot of famous Western brands produce a lot of really wacky products for the Asian market and Pepsico is no exception! 
With a wide range of crazy limited edition products that includes Pepsi Ice Cucumber, Pepsi Blue Hawaii, Pepsi Caribbean Gold and Pepsi Salty Watermelon among many others, it's pretty clear that they are willing to push the boundaries of what are considered traditional soft drink ingredients. However, I have to admit that this one even surprised me somewhat in it's weird and wonderful wackiness! 
So essentially Baobab is a stunted looking African tree with an incredibly bloated looking trunk as it can store up to 100,000 litres of water to get it through the drought season. Usually the only reason why someone outside of Africa would have heard of them is because you learn about them in geography for exactly this reason. You can see a couple of examples of Baobab trees here: 
African Baobab Tree
Baobab Tree
Quite a random thing to flavour a commercial soft drink with, no? Apparently not! According to wikipedia people in Zimbabwe  use the crushed crumbly pulp "to stir into porridge and drinks" whilst inventorspot.com states that the ground powder of the fruit is commonly mixed with water in Africa to produce a drink that tastes "somewhat like wine gums"! In addition the fruit has purportedly more vitamin C than oranges and more calcium than cow's milk. Lots of reasons to make a weird gimmicky soft drink out of it!
But in fact the real reason why Pepsi suddenly decided to release this unexpected drink flavoured with one of the most recognisable plants that is native to Africa is because the world cup was being held there on that year and in fact that the soda was released just 17 days before the world cup started on March 25th 2010. For further proof here's the evidence right here:
African World Cup 2010
Now all this pointless information about why Pepsi does or doesn't release drinks that at first glance look like some marketers mad fantasy aside, perhaps we should pay some attention to the product itself.
So what did it taste like? Well to be honest, kind of boring... My buddy described it as "a mixture of flat coke and flat sprite" and that pretty much sums it up. The most disappointing thing for me is that I thought it would have some kind of extreme, exciting or at least strikingly unusual flavour that would immediately communicate the wild flavours of the African savannah to tamed and commercialised city-folk like me. Unfortunately almost the opposite was true. Apart from a slight herbal flavour it basically communicated a flat, mildly flavoured beverage which was clearly intended mainly as a marketing tool. Certainly nothing on the fearless flavour pioneers at Kit Kat Japan and not even up to the level of other limited edition Pepsico products like 7-up Clear Dry or Mountain Dew Grape.
To see our full thoughts on the product and reactions to our first taste, check out our review below:

Here are a few of the other crazy flavours that have been released by Pepsi in the last few years:
Limited Edition Pepsi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKLjw6qLMjE
Red Bean Soda
Pink Pepsi
Check out all our reviews of bizarre Asian snacks, foods and drinks here: Crazy from Kong!
And you can check out my blog here: Spencer Douglass Blog