If you’re anything like me then it doesn’t take a whole lot to jog your memory and find yourself frozen on a familiar street, in a store, or with an old friend, reminiscing over some vague image from childhood suddenly stuck in your amygdala. Without notice, products, people, and places play out like scenes from what ought to be a “classic” film you remember from youth. (If he did, your thoughts are actually Post-Traumatic Stress, and you should seek help. See previous post.) Getting back to the innocuousness of juice, every so often – out of nowhere – I find myself thinking of Five Alive. For those unfamiliar with the beverage, Five Alive is a citrus juice drink created by the Coca-Cola brand, Minute Maid.
The “Five” represents the five fruit flavors in the drink. There has been a total of seven varieties, but the original was a blend of orange, lemon, grapefruit, tangerine, and lime. I have no idea what this combination tastes like; I’ve never had Five Alive. The memory I have of this product is entirely visual, etched into my psyche from a passing glance in a grocery store some 22 years ago. Minute Maid totes Five Alive as a “family” beverage that you can “enjoy all day long.” But for me, Five Alive was always a beverage other families enjoyed. That’s not to say it was better or worse than what my family drank (admittedly I started on coffee around three – which upon reflection is markedly worse). Yet despite my avoidance, this carton of what sounds like pure acid continues to wrest my imagination. My mother stocked the kitchen and fridge with what appealed to only her palate, and everyone in the house had to follow suit.
Visiting friends and family always led to something of a discovery as a kid, opening their fridges and learning what variations in grocery choices existed outside of mine. But I don’t recall seeing Five Alive in any refrigerator. Or seeing anyone swig from a bottle of it on a hot summer day. After all, a line of big royal blue boxes uniformly resting in the refrigerator aisle, eye-level with a sprouting eight-year-old, is rather mouthwatering (look at the Hi-C juice box above; I feel like I just licked a salt mine). Is Five Alive’s indelible legacy a result of nothing more than great product design? It’s a great example of brand positioning beginning with effective packaging. The carton made Five Alive one of those somewhat obscure supermarket staples I always wanted to like, but never tried, similar to Underwood’s Deviled Ham, and that weird peanut butter and jelly that comes in one jar.* While relatively popular in the U.K. today, Five Alive’s accessibility in the United States is limited. five alive (Photo credit: ..tmh) I’m not sure why it’s on fire here – maybe this is how it feels when you pour it over a paper cut. Regardless, that old blue carton continues to stand out in visions of antiquity. Perhaps it persists in my thoughts as a combination: part mystery, part visual beauty, part lure toward emotional introspection – it’s more than revved my historical engine while I have been writing, and I’m reminded of another juice drink from childhood. What ever happened to Veryfine (I know; Sunny Delight owns the brand now)? I also loved Veryfine because it lent itself so well to the self-aware cheesiness of pickup lines… think about it. For the record, every drink tastes better out of glass. *Smuckers makes a product called “Goobers” that blends peanut butter and jelly. I can’t recall if this is the exact product I remember from the 80s. Five Alive is a range of fruit juice drinks made with nature produced from a single fruit type and blends produced from five delicious tasting fruits. Five Alive is a range of fruit juice drinks made with nature. The brand consists of both mono juice produced from a single fruit type and blends produced from a blend of five delicious tasting fruits. Both the mono and blends are further fortified with additional vitamins and minerals. Available in 6 countries including Nigeria, Five Alive was launched in Nigeria in 2003. Five Alive is available in mono juice - Apple and Orange and blends - Citrus Burst, Berry Blast and Pineapple Punch.
Packaging 5Alive is available in two packs 1L and Five Alive Citrus Burst and Berry Blast are available in 250ml.
Five Alive Citrus Burst Water, sugar (sucrose), fruit juices 43% (orange, lemon, grapefruit, tangerine and lime), calcium phosphate, calcium lactate, citric acid, flavourings and vitamin C. Five Alive Berry Blast Water, sugar, fruit juices 20% (apple, blackcurrant, grape, raspberry and strawberry) citric acid, flavourings, vitamin C and Zinc gluconate. Five Alive Pineapple Punch Water, sugar (sucrose), fruit juices 25% (pineapple, orange, lemon, grapefruit, tangerine) citric acid, flavourings, caramel and vitamin C. Five Alive Orange Water, Concentrated Orange juice (30% minimum), sugar, carboxymethyl, cellulose, citric acid, orange flavour and vitamin A, C & E.