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Consumers show confidence in Fanta, Sprite despite controversies


Soft drinks. PHOTO: BBC

In spite of the controversies surrounding the safety of two soft drinks brands, Fanta and Sprite, from the stable of the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) in the past few weeks, some consumers have revealed that the two soft drinks brands still enjoy sizable patronage and loyalty according to polls conducted by foreign and local media.

In an opinion poll conducted by CNN Africa on Twitter, tagged ‘Nigerians, are you still drinking Fanta and Sprite after this high court ruling?’ monitored by Brands & Marketing, a huge number of consumers would still prefer to pitch tents with the two soft drinks brands, insisting that they were not bothered by the controversies surrounding them.

For instance, while 61 per cent of the respondents were in the ‘Yes, doesn’t bother me’ category, 39 per cent of the respondents insisted they would have a second thought before fraternising with the products.


Interestingly, this level of loyalty enjoyed by the brands is, again, reinforced by a cross-section of consumers, who spoke on the issue. Some of the consumers expressed the belief that the ‘undue assaults’ the two brands had been facing, especially on the social media space, in the past few weeks, should not be taken as representing the collective reactions of their consumers, but that of a leadership price.

For instance, Kelvin Anthony, an entrepreneur and an ardent consumer of Fanta, believes it would be foolhardy to believe that those two leading brands that had been in the market for decades, would decide overnight to ‘rubbish’ such achievement by not playing by the rules, as being claimed in some quarters.

Another consumer, Joyce Uwadiae, would however, want Nigerians to exercise caution in the way they pursue their consumer rights activism. “While not holding brief for any company, but I remember there was a time the Indomie Noodles brand was nearly outlawed in this country when some people came up with some phantom claims that the popular noodles brand was injurious to health,” she added.

A food nutritionist, Jide Omololu, described the recent outcry on the Benzoic Acid levels in the two soft drinks brands as amounting to ‘crying wolves where there are none’.
“For me, the bottlers of these brands have never, in any way, erred. It has not gone against any rules. When you talk of Benzoic Acid levels, it is simply a case of different strokes for different folks.

“Both Fanta and Sprite have Benzoic Acid levels of 200 mg/kg, which is lower than the Nigerian regulatory limit of 250 mg/kg when combined with ascorbic acid and 300 mg/kg without ascorbic acid and also lower than the 600 mg/kg international limit set by CODEX.”


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