We can trace back many of our beloved comfort foods to the 50s, an era which introduced such pop culture staples as Jello Instant Pudding and Rice-a-Roni. The arrival of this innovative decade also brought a new fruity beverage in a big tin can, Hi-C. A perfect thirst-quencher on a hot summer’s day, and (slightly) more healthy than soda, kids loved it right out of the gate and have continued to gulp down glasses of the sweet concoction for over 60 years.
While Americans may recognize the company name for its many juice-like fruit drinks, around the world Hi-C also makes tea varieties and even soymilk beverages. In the U.S., however, Hi-C is specifically a sweet flavored drink manufactured by Minute Maid, a division of The Coca-Cola Company. Only 10% of the product is fruit juice, making it sugary enough to attract kids yet just healthy enough in appearance to get most parents to consider purchasing it. Hi-C has introduced many flavors over the years, like Boppin’ Strawberry and Fruit Punch, though none have enjoyed the pop culture crossover appeal of the Ecto Cooler.
To earlier generations, this strange green concoction was simply known as Citrus Cooler, a blend of orange, tangerine and lime flavors. But, with the overwhelming popularity of the recently released film, Ghostbusters, some product cross-promotion was assured. Ecto Cooler featured Slimer on the front of the package and that was enough to endear the beverage to a generation of kids. Ecto Cooler officially left store shelves in 2001, replaced by Shoutin’ Orange Tangergreen, which was replaced by Crazy Citrus Cooler, which was discontinued in 2007 – a sad moment indeed for those who grew up with this distinctive flavor.
Whether out of a small cardboard box, or one of those towering tin cans, there are few among us who haven’t enjoyed a nice cold glass of Hi-C when thirst overcame us on a hot day. If you have some memories of Hi-C you would like to share, perhaps tell us what your favorite flavor was, we’d love to hear them all in our comments section, as we fondly remember the pleasures of a drink that has kept kids refreshed for over 60 years.