Pepsi Baobab - Out Of Africa, Onto Japanese Store Shelves!
Is Pepsi Japan running out of weird flavors for their special edition varieties? It could be... after Pepsi Ice Cucumber, Pepsi Shiso (green perilla), Pepsi Blue Hawaii and Pepsi Azuki, what could be left? Since you asked (ok, since "I" asked), how about Pepsi Baobab?
The gold-tinted, "refreshingly spicy" soft drink is scheduled to be released in Japan on May 25th for 140 yen (about $1.50) per 500ml bottle. Pepsi's graphic designers have done a nice job on the label, which features a Baobab tree silhouetted against an exotic African sunset.
I'm guessing few Japanese have tasted the juice of a Baobab tree's fruit, so Pepsi has a fair amount of leeway in formulating a taste the public will accept as authentic Baobab. In Africa, where the ground powder of Baobab fruit is mixed with water as a cooling drink, the taste is said to be somewhat like wine gums - doesn't sound too bad!
In Europe and North America, Baobab fruit (sometimes called "monkey bread") in various processed forms is slowly becoming available to the public, after being officially approved for import over the past couple of years.
The fruits are reported to contain a higher percentage of vitamin C than oranges and more calcium than cow's milk on a per capita basis. The Mangosteen and Goji Berry folks are going to have a field day!
As Baobab trees are plentiful in southern Africa, Madagascar and Australia, the fruit could end up being a nice little earner for local farmers and orchardists. It will be interesting to see if Pepsi Japan is using actual Baobab fruit extract in Pepsi Baobab... and, if they'll be releasing the soft drink anywhere else. (via Narinari and NewzJapan, images via Suntory.jp)