Among the many juice and tea brands out there, Snapple has a special place in our hearts. Maybe it’s the nostalgia or the satisfaction of hearing the pop as you open a bottle or the “real facts” under the bottle cap. Either way, stick around as we count down some more “Real Facts”. Here are the top 10 untold truths of Snapple!
10. The “real facts” actually are real
Do you look forward to peeking under a Snapple cap just to get your fact fix? According to Snapple, they bring in a team every year to pitch new facts to add to their ever growing list. The facts that are collectively agreed upon by the team are then researched and fact-checked for validity before they’re finally put into circulation. As of now, there are over 1500 Real Facts beneath the bottle caps of Snapple drinks. If you’ve ever seen a missing number in their list, that’s usually because new information has been discovered that disproves the original fact, or it has simply become outdated. As a result, Snapple retires the fact. You can also contact Snapple if you believe one of their facts is inaccurate and they will have their fact-checking team look into it. If there’s one thing we love in a brand, it’s how dedicated they are to their cause, and Snapple is definitely dedicated to bringing their customers real facts and real facts only. By the way, did you know that camels have three eyelids? (Yup. “Real Fact” #5.)
9. Snapple has some pretty innovative flavors
Snapple sells both iced teas and juices, and they’ve gotten pretty creative with the flavors over the years. There are seven tea options with most of them available in both regular and diet varieties. They’ve got their classic Takes Two to Mango Tea, Peach Tea, Lemon Tea, Half ‘N Half (half iced tea and half lemonade), Raspberry Tea, Trop-A-Rocka Tea, and Green Tea. All Snapple tea drinks have caffeine in them, but the amounts vary from flavor to flavor, and they don’t currently offer any decaffeinated variations. If you’re looking for a Snapple drink that won’t keep you up at night, you might want to try a juice option, of which there are many. Check out Mango Madness, Snapple Apple, Fruit Punch, Peach Mangosteen, Grapeade, and Go Bananas, among others. They also have a few lemonade options such as an original Lemonade flavor, Pink Lemonade, Watermelon Lemonade, Strawberry Pineapple Lemonade, and Black Cherry. In addition, Snapple offers some canned fruit juice in four varieties: 100% Juiced Fruit Punch, 100% Juiced Grape, 100% Juiced Green Apple, and 100% Juiced Orange Mango. If you’re considering a diet option of one of their drinks, do be aware that they use aspartame as a sugar substitute. Aspartame has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, although it is still a widely controversial sweetener due to some inconsistent connections linking aspartame and a multitude of ailments including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and birth defects, among others. Snapple continues to ensure that its drinks meet FDA safety requirements.
8. The Snapple company was started by BFFs
Snapple was founded by three best friends in 1972 in Long Island, New York. Leonard Marsh, his brother-in-law Hyman Golden, and his childhood friend Arnold Greenberg launched the company, originally known as Unadulterated Food Products, in order to sell juice to health food stores. It started off as a part-time business, so Greenberg continued to run his health food store while Marsh and Golden ran a window-washing business in case their juice operation was unsuccessful. In an interview, Marsh admitted that when they first began their small business, he knew as much about juice as about making an atom bomb. (No wonder they kept their options open…) They later decided that the company name “Unadulterated Food Products” likely wouldn’t roll off potential customers tongues so a name change was in order. The name Snapple combined the words Snappy and Apple which they originally chose as the name for a carbonated apple juice. The apple juice never actually made it to the market because one of the batches fermented in the bottle, causing the caps to fly off. Still, the founders liked the name so much they decided to use it as the new company moniker. Thus, the Snapple Beverage Corporation was born in the early 1980s. Snapple first focused on juice and it wasn’t until 1987 when they finally put out their first lemon iced tea drink. This is when things really took off. The business jumped from $3 million to a whopping $700 million in sales in 1994. According to Greenberg, their company was the first that made “ready-to-drink iced tea that didn’t taste like battery acid”. (Jeez, tell us what ya really think, Arnold.) Maybe they do get bragging rights, however, because the iced tea took three years to develop and resonated with young people, changing the brand’s reputation for the better.
7. Snapple’s Other products
Snapple has a couple of other products produced by Jel Sert under a license from Snapple. For example, Snapple Singles to Go is a powdered drink mix that you combine with water in order to flavor it. Jel Sert is known for making many similar drink mixes under licenses from brands like Starburst, Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, Welch’s, and Jolly Rancher, to name a few. They also make Snapple Sorbet Bars which are essentially freezies, except, you know, they’re sorbet. They’re naturally flavored, contain no artificial colors and are made with real sugar. They come in four flavors: Kiwi Strawberry, Snapple Apple, Mango Madness, and Fruit Punch, so you can enjoy your favorite Snapple drinks in sorbet form! For those of you who are of legal drinking age, Snapple also has Snapple Spiked. They’re sold in a variety of flavors including Peach, Tea & Lemonade, Raspberry Cherry, Strawberry Kiwi, Watermelon, Long Island Iced Tea, and Lemon Iced Tea. The alcoholic version of Snapple drinks are spiked with Vodka and are listed as 5.5% alcohol. Like many drinks of this sort, you taste more sugar than vodka, so exercise caution. Not only do they go down quickly, but they can also up your sugar intake significantly.
6. Popularity of Snapple
Launched in the 1980s, Snapple has become a staple in popular culture over the years. It was featured on an episode of Seinfeld, where interestingly, it was rejected by characters for being too fruity. The brand is also pretty heavily associated with Howard Stern and, to a lesser degree, Rush Limbaugh because it sponsored their radio shows and therefore, was frequently plugged on air. It cost the company its annual advertising budget of $15 million to advertise on the live radio shows, but clearly, it was worth it. Snapple was also the official beverage sponsor of America’s Got Talent from season 7 to season 9 when Howard Stern was a judge on the show. In the early 90s, Wendy Kaufman, who is known as the “Snapple Lady”, was featured in a popular series of television commercials where she would answer letters from Snapple fans. It was also at this time that Snapple launched its trademark brand slogan: “Made from the Best Stuff on Earth”. The tagline was first introduced in Snapple ads that poked fun at older beer and sports drinks campaigns in order to counteract Coke and Pepsi challenge commercials. In recent years, Snapple advertisements have gotten kind of… creepy. They feature anthropomorphic fruits and bottles of Snapple with human-like faces. It’s just that they’re facial features are almost too human-like, but they’re fruits and plastic bottles with gangly arms and… sneakers, for some reason. Hey, can you pass us that Snapple Spiked? We’re going to need it.
5. Sugar levels
For a brand that markets its products as “made from the best stuff on earth”, Snapple’s drinks aren’t even really that much healthier than soda. A 16 oz bottle is 160 calories alone, with 40 grams of carbs, and 40 grams of added sugar. That’s eight teaspoons of sugar per serving! Although you won’t have to deal with ingredients like corn syrup or glucose-fructose, the sugar levels in a serving on Snapple have you looking at almost 80% of your daily value of recommended sugar intake. For its short list of ingredients, citric acid is listed third, which means there’s more of an additive in this drink than there is tea. Because bottled tea is often brewed and processed, most of the antioxidants found in natural tea are completely absent in the bottled version. Companies also water down the tea in order to lessen the bitterness of the antioxidants – and then increase the sweetness – which results in even lower levels of antioxidants. This probably isn’t much of a secret, but your mom was right when she told you “it’s all sugar”. There really isn’t all that much tea left after the processing.
4. Snapple Theater Center
The Snapple Theatre Centre is a multi-theater entertainment complex opened in May of 2006, at the corner of 50th Street and Broadway in New York City. It’s a 20,000-square-foot state of the art entertainment center with a total seating capacity of 398 between two theaters. Inside the building, you’ll find rehearsal studios, contemporary lobbies, two bars with cabaret-style seating, and two merchandise stands. It was known as The Snapple Theater Center until 2016 and was later renamed simply to The Theater Center. And, at one point, there was actually a giant Snapple iced tea bottle outside the theater! The location is known for its theatrical performances, dance recitals and concert events. I wonder if they sell Snapple at the concession stand? Hmmm….
3. The Snapple Lady was an actual employee
Wendy Kaufman, better known as the Snapple Lady from the commercials, was actually an employee for the company. She began working in the ordering department in 1991 and used to read and reply to the company fan mail. She stated once, that when she was a kid, she had a celebrity crush on Greg Brady from The Brady Bunch. She wrote her one and only fan letter to the actor, Barry Williams, and received no response. So, when Kaufman began noticing that people were taking the time to write letters to Snapple, she knew she had to respond to those who wanted to connect with the brand. At some point down the line, an executive from Snapple’s ad agency met Kaufman and saw something special in her. Apparently, it was a pretty controversial idea among the executives to put some random worker from the order department on national TV. However, it was also a way for Snapple to distinguish itself from its competitors and it meant the brand wouldn’t have to dish out whatever small budget they had at the time on a celebrity spokesperson. And, so, Wendy Kaufman began reading real fan mail in Snapple commercials from 1993 to 1996. She starred in a total of thirty-six commercials with some of them even winning awards! In an interview with Oprah, Kaufman revealed that working at Snapple wasn’t just a job for her, it was a lifeline. Before she was recruited, she admitted that she had been addicted to narcotics for nearly ten years. Snapple kept her sober and offered her the opportunity to do “wonderful, nice things for other people”. Luckily, Kaufman found a new purpose with the Snapple Lady persona and never went back to drugs. For as much joy as she brought to Snapple’s audience, it seems Snapple managed to return the favor.
2. Glass vs plastic bottles
In 2018, Snapple introduced plastic bottles in lieu of its classic glass ones. As with most changes to nostalgic brands, the internet was sent into an uproar. There are actually a couple of petitions online to bring back the glass bottles with the claim that plastic is more harmful to the environment. There are a few online posts floating around about this topic where one user argues that this simply isn’t the case. While creating glass produces fewer emissions than creating the same weight in Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the glass bottles actually require more material than the plastic kind. Because the plastic bottles weigh less than the glass ones, they also emit less carbon to transport because trucks are loaded by weight. This means that the trucks can fit 40% more cases each, resulting in fewer round trips. Single-use glass is more challenging to recycle than most think and is almost as expensive as simply producing virgin material. Despite this, Snapple glass bottles are still available in their six and twelve packs, so if you’re missing the 90s or think Snapple simply tastes better in the glass bottles, you’ve still got options! Even on the plastic bottles, Snapple kept their original bottle caps, so that’s one thing to still look forward to. After all, opening a Snapple drink wouldn’t be the same without the pop!
1. Snapple Ownership changes
Snapple was a company that grew quickly and exponentially. Only five years into selling iced tea, their sales reached $100 million. They had been doubling every year and Snapple was now a major player in the iced tea market. The three owners teamed up with an investment firm in 1992 and sold about seventy percent of the company. Their deal gave them each an annual salary of $300,000 for the next five years, $45 million for the company, and retention of creative ownership. This is when they became a national brand. They were an emerging brand in a profitable market with rapidly growing sales and a concrete image. It’s no wonder Quaker Oats was willing to buy Snapple for $1.7 billion only a short time after. It’s widely agreed upon that this number was extremely overpriced but it’s important to note that Quaker also owned Gatorade and saw the deal as a great acquisition. They already knew how to market drinks and Snapple was on the rise. Unfortunately for Quaker, they quickly learned that Snapple couldn’t be marketed the same way Gatorade was. They tried selling bottles in cases at the grocery store with the goal of turning the brand’s image into a drink you buy a pack of and drink at home, instead of the single bottle people were used to grabbing at the convenience store. Consumers already had a perception of the kind of drink Snapple was and this switch up in marketing was unsuccessful with the majority. At the time, competition in the market also began to rise and Quaker made the detrimental decision to let go of the beloved Snapple Lady. All these factors contributed to a significant loss in value of the brand and Quaker Oats sold Snapple to Triarc for $300 million only two years after they acquired it. This kind of downgrade in resale meant that Quaker lost $1.6 million every day they owned Snapple. Triarc however, did much better in promoting Snapple. They focused on selling in convenience stores again and hired back Wendy Kaufman for PR events, effectively undoing all of Quaker Oats’ mistakes. In the year 2000, Triarc sold to Cadbury Schweppes for $1.4 billion as part of a bigger deal with some other beverage brands. Snapple is now owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper and is still one of the leading ready-to-drink iced tea brands on the market.