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Review: Oxfam fair trade Bio Cola

Oxfam fair trade Bio Cola

As much as I love Coca-Cola, I know there are people who don’t like it for a variety of reasons. Some dislike it on nutritional grounds, while others take issue with the global ubiquity of massively multinational companies. Personally, I quite enjoyed being able to cool down in the shade of a mango tree with an icy glass bottle of Coke on a 42 C day in Burkina Faso, but others don’t share my cola enthusiasm. Fair enough, I say; different strokes for different folks and all that.

If your concern with Coke and other colas has been that they aren’t organic enough for your tastes, well, the fine people at Oxfam have created a cola that aims to soothe one’s conscience while quenching one’s thirst.

The Pitch: “Bio and fair trade.” Bio is short for biologique, which is French for organic. Basically, that’s all you need to know. It’s a cola made with ingredients that are fair trade (96%, the label says) and organic (not all the ingredients are organic). The tiny ingredients list is the most effective pitch of all: carbonated water, cane sugar, lemon juice from concentrate, malt extract, natural cola aroma, natural lemon aroma.

The Look: The can’s design is pretty enough, with a black, white and green motif. The cola itself looks like any other cola: a clear dark brown with bubbles.

The Taste: Not at all like either Pepsi or Coca-Cola. It’s like they’ve mixed one part generic cola with one part lemon tea. The lemon flavour dominates, which isn’t surprising given “lemon juice from concentrate” is the third thing on the ingredients list. The taste is sweet and simple, with a tart lemony punch and a bit of metal.


Cost: $2.14 per 330 mL can at Earth’s General Store in Edmonton.

Value for cash money: Not great. But it’s made with organic and fair trade ingredients, and is imported from Belgium.

Availability: In Edmonton at Earth’s General Store. Outside of that, no idea.

Nutrition?: Something’s fishy here. According to the can’s label, each 100 mL of cola has 44 calories and 30 grams of sugars. Per 330 mL can, that works out to 145 calories and 99 grams of sugars. That sugars number seems waaaaay too high, as even Coca-Cola only has 39 grams of sugars per 355 mL can.

The verdict: Not bad. Not my thing, but I can see the allure for some people.

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