In South Africa, our soft drinks market is primarily dominated by Coca-cola and its products, with Pepsi and a few local brands fighting for a piece of the pie. But there may be a soft drink that you’ve never had the chance to try: Dr Pepper.
You wouldn’t be blamed for not picking this up while shopping as it’s generally more expensive than other drinks. Why? Because Dr Pepper is imported and not manufactured locally in South Africa. Which is a bit odd since we have Snapple in SA (Snapple is a part of Dr Pepper in the US), but the country has a long and weird history with popular overseas food brands.
What exactly is Dr Pepper?
It’s a carbonated soft drink with a unique flavour and isn’t quite what you’d describe as a cola. And while it is supposedly a pepper-style flavour, I think it tastes closer to a mixture of cherry and marzipan. It’s a drink that’s made out of the same stuff put on fancy Christmas Cakes and a mixture of little red berries. Strange, right?
Lately, it has become one of my favourite soft drinks and I just can’t get enough of it. It has even pushed the once mighty Cherry Coke out of a core position in my personal list of favourite drinks.
These are the flavours I’ve tried so far and where I’ve purchased them from (pictured above):
- Dr Pepper (US Import) – Raru
- Dr Pepper (UK Import) – Rosmead Spar
- Dr Pepper Cherry – Raru
- Dr Pepper Vanilla and Cherry – Rosmead Spar
Out of all of those, the US Dr Pepper and Cherry are my favourites. I found the Vanilla and Cherry was not only expensive (R25 a can from Spar), but tasted too close to standard Cherry to make it unique in any way.
Dr Pepper vs. Dr Pepper
There is a reason I listed both the US and UK imports of the drink: they have different flavours. Due to different food regulations in the US and UK, these identical drinks don’t taste quite so identical. While the US version is created with high fructose corn syrup, giving it a nice sweet taste, the UK version uses natural and artificial sweeteners, which gives it a disappointing aftertaste. If you’ve bought any Lucozade in the last few months – which switched out sugars for sweeteners in 2017 – you’ll know what I’m talking about.
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