I have been residing in Hong Kong for the past 10-years. I realize that the Minute Maid brand was launched in the Hong Kong region a few years ago. If I recall correctly, the first product launched under the Minute Maid brand is the signature of Minute Maid – Orange Juice.
Before residing in Hong Kong, being in the United States, I have also experienced the Minute Maid – Orange Juice from concentrate product. Not only I have tasted this product when I was in high school, but also a recent trip back to the United States on United Airlines flights. Having the luxury to taste both products manufactured from Hong Kong and United States. I’ve noticed that the two products are distinctively different.
First of all, let me describe my tasting experience with the United States product. The taste of the product have distinctive taste. It’s sharp with a punch especially the after taste from the acidity. It lingers on the palate. Even though it’s not freshly squeezed orange juice, but you know that it has the essence of orange juice – just that it’s a concentrate product.
Now, let me tell you my experience with the Hong Kong version of the Minute Maid – orange juice. The so-called ‘juice’ has probably less than 3% of actual orange juice concentrate in the product – this is an educated guess. Basically, to my palate, it is just a completely watered-down product that has little taste of orange juice and more like a fructose syrup water with coloring. Furthermore, this product in Hong Kong is advertised with ‘real orange pulp’. Yes, it does have lots of pulp and it does taste like natural orange pulp.
After giving the background information to my query, here is a few questions for The Coca-Cola Company:
1. What is the core image of Minute Maid (a product of the The Coca-Cola Company) want to give to the consumer? In terms of branding of a product, to my understanding, standardization is very important. Even though it is targeting to different markets but should the brand have consistency? For those who travel around the world frequently looks for brands that they could associate with and trust. I am quite disappointed on having to taste the Hong Kong product that has such a big difference from the United States product. Is the difference in the two products are purposely manufactured to be completely different? Is it because it is catered to different target markets? The two products are actually in the same target market – bottled beverages. The two products have too much differences that I think it is confusing the consumer.
2. Where does the orange pulp from the Hong Kong version of the Minute Maid product come from? If it is real orange pulp, it has to be coming from freshly squeezed orange juice, does it? Or is it all artificial? My guess is that the orange pulp comes from left over of other freshly squeezed orange juice. However, to my understanding, The Coca-Cola Company does not have a FRESHLY SQUEEZED orange juice product in Hong Kong region, does it?
I value The Coca-Cola Company and it’s products dearly as I grew up with Coca-Cola to begin with and was introduced to an array of other beverages that accompanied me through the years – I hope to continue my journey through life with Coca-Cola and other beverages from The Coca-Cola Company. How does the company continue to grow and expand its brand is entirely up to how the management sees the above questions.