Fun_People Archive
17 May
Soda Filled with Big Lumps of Slippery Jelly?

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 17 May 96 12:42:20 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: Soda Filled with Big Lumps of Slippery Jelly?

Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <>
Forwarded-by: Keith Sullivan <>
From: The Wall Street Journal, Thursday, May 16, 1996.

  By Robert Frank, Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal

You've heard of meals you can drink.  Now there's a drink you can eat.

In the most psychedelic offering yet from New Age drink companies, Clearly
Canadian Beverage is preparing to launch a product called Orbitz -- a
"texturally enhanced" drink with scores of "flavored gel spheres" floating
in the bottle.  The company spent more than a year developing a liquid-
suspension technology that allows the edible jelly balls to levitate in the
clear drink without settling to the bottom.

Clearly Canadian is calling Orbitz "fun in a bottle."  But some marketing
experts wonder whether a drink that looks like a broken lava lamp will fly.

"It's gross," says Simon Williams, of the Sterling Group, an industry
consulting firm.  "It's like, when you drink a glass of milk, do you want
to find lumps?"

Yet Orbitz isn't the first of its kind.  Companies have been putting things
in drinks for years -- with little success.  New Age rival Mistic Brands
launched something similar last year called "Jumpin Gems."  But because the
jelly balls settled to the bottom, consumers thought the product had gone

"I never even drank it," says Michael Weinstein, president of Mistic.

Clearly Canadian says the drink is deliberately "weird" in order to appeal
to rebellious teens.  The company points to the success of Goldschlager --
a spicy liquor with bits of real gold floating in it -- and brands of
tequila that have worms in the bottles.  Several drinks in Southeast Asia
contain bursting malt balls or chunks of fruit.

Clearly Canadian says it's going to let Orbitz drinkers figure out for
themselves whether to eat the neon-colored jelly balls.

"It's going to be an adventure," said Jonathan Cronin, Clearly Canadian's
marketing director.  "They can choose to eat them, drink them or spit them
out."  After extensive testing, the company decided to make the balls small
enough to fit through a straw -- but large enough that they "didn't look
like a mistake," Mr. Cronin added.

But at $1.29 for a 10-ounce bottle, beverage experts say, Orbitz could
become yet another New Age fizzle with consumers.  "It may be a brief
novelty item," said Mr. Williams.  "But basically, people are taught not to
drink things floating in their glass."

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