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A Guide to Soft Drinks: Explore Different Types and Flavors

What do we mean by a soft drink?

 A soft drink is sweet, carbonated water with an artificial flavour added to it. It also contains caffeine, colorings, preservatives, and other ingredients to make it tasty. Soft drinks are called ‘soft’ because they contain less than 0.5% of alcohol. It comes in a variety of flavors, such as cola, lime, orange, ginger ale, and so on.

Introduction of Soft Drinks in Market

Before India got its independence in 1947, a British chemist named Henry Rogers had set up the first soda plant in the year 1837. It produced carbonated water, commonly known as club soda. Later on, there were other brands in the market selling flavour-infused carbonated water, namely Pallonji, Ardeshi, Duke, Goli Soda, Banta, and so on.

In 1949, Parle launched India’s first ever soft drink, called Gluco-Cola, which was later changed to Pale-Cola. Later on, due to trademark issues with Coca-Cola, which was already a worldwide brand, Parle had to shut down its soft drink, “Parle Cola”. Two years later, it launched ‘Gold Spot’, an orange-based soda drink.

Then came the leading market giants, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, to grab a share, in which Coca-Cola was the clear winner, due to which Pepsi had to exit the Indian market. Taking this opportunity, Parle launched its lemon soft drink, “Limca,” which did well in the market.

In the 1970s, Coca-Cola faced political pressure from the Indian government, due to which it exited the Indian market. The public already loved the taste of Coca-cola, taking the opportunity of which Pure Drinks launched “Campa Cola”.On the other hand, Parle also saw this opportunity to launch a cola drink given the low level of competition and thus launched “Thumbs Up”. “Thumbs Up” being a hit made Parle a market giant in the late 80s.

Currently, India is strewn with a plethora of soft drink brands of various flavours. Let’s discuss them one by one.

Read More: Low Calorie Indian Food Options for a Balanced and Healthy Diet

How many types of soft drinks are available at the moment?

Given the huge population of India, soft drinks are a go-to thirst-satisfying element. The top 10 most popular and common soft drinks available in India are:

1. Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up is currently one of the most popular soft drink brands in India, loved by almost everyone. It is a cola drink that was later bought and re-launched by Coca-Cola.

2. Sprite

Coca-Cola launched its lemon soda drink to compete with Limca and 7 Up and emerged more successful than those.

3. Coca Cola

Coca-Cola had a monopoly over the soft drink market before PepsiCo entered the market. Currently, Coca-Cola is the fourth most popular drink after Thumbs Up and others. 

4. Limca

Limca was launched by Parle initially, which was bought over by Coca-Cola along with Thumbs Up, Sprite, and so on. It is a lemon-flavoured carbonated drink in the same race as others like Sprite and 7 Up.

5. Mirinda

Mirinda was launched by PepsiCo as an orange carbonated drink to compete with Coca-Cola’s Fanta. Both are running quite successfully in the market.

6. Fanta

Coca-Cola-owned Fanta was originally launched in orange flavour, later introducing grape flavour too.

7. 7 Up

PepsiCo-owned 7 Up is another lemon drink launched to give competition to Sprite and Limca. 

8. Mountain Dew

Also owned by PepsiCo, Mountain Dew is another lemon drink but different in taste as compared to 7 Up. It has a stronger, more fizzy taste.

8. Frooti

The mango variety in soft drinks started with Frooti, which became a huge hit and is loved by all. It is owned by Parle Agro and is the largest-selling mango drink brand in India.

9. Maaza

To give competition to frooti, Mazaa was launched and was a hit. It is another best-selling mango drink after Frooti and has variants in orange and pineapple flavours too.

Origin of Flavors of Soft Drink

Initially, Coca-Cola was launched in the cola flavor, which was loved by the Indian public as it was refreshing and helped with digestion. Later on, many other companies launched soft drinks with Coca-Cola flavours to satisfy the taste buds of the public. Slowly, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and a few other big companies started doing research on what is liked by the Indian public and came to the conclusion that refreshing fruit flavours might be liked by all.


Gradually, flavours like lemon, orange, grape, mango, and pineapple came onto the market. Most of these were hits, especially mango, as Indians love mangoes a lot. Later on, a raw mango drink named Aam Panna was also launched to celebrate people’s love of mangoes.


Given the eating culture of the people of India, soft drinks are a huge hit, as people find them refreshing to consume after a meal or during the summer.


1. Which is the Indian-originated soft drink?

India’s first soft drink brand was Parle, which launched “Gluco-Cola.” 


2. What were the first soda flavors?

The first soft drink flavour was cola, introduced by Pepsi. 


3. Which global brand first conquered the Indian soft drink market?

Coca-Cola was the first global brand to come to India with its soft drink varieties.


4. Which are the top soft drink brands in India right now?

The leading soft drink brands in India are Thumbs Up, Sprite, Coca-Cola, Frooti, and so on.


5. Why are soft drinks so popular in India?

People in India enjoy the taste of soft drinks after a meal because of their eating culture, and it also aids digestion.

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