We can trace many of our beloved comfort foods back to the post-war 50s, an era which introduced such future staples as Jello Instant Pudding and Rice-a-Roni. The innovative decade also brought a new fruity beverage in a big tin can called Hi-C. A perfect thirst-quencher on a hot summer’s day, and (slightly) healthier than soda pop, kids loved it from the beginning and continue to gulp down glasses of the sweet concoction some sixty years later.

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 numerous flavors over the years, like Boppin’ Strawberry and Florida Punch, but none are engrained in the psyche of 80s kids to the extent of Ecto Cooler.

To older generations, this strange green concoction was called Citrus Cooler – a blend of orange, tangerine and lime flavors. Quite tasty, but not one of the more popular flavors. It did have one thing going for it, however – it was green. In 1984, it became a product tie-in to the box-office hit, Ghostbusters. The name was changed to Ecto Cooler (after the green slime prominently featured in the film) and a massive marketing campaign was launched.

Ecto Cooler featured the colorful character Slimer on the front of every package and in television ads. And, a generation of adoring young movie fans, who thought it very cool to drink something green, paid attention and demanded their Ecto Cooler. Parents thought it a healthier alternative to soft-drinks and acquiesced. Suffice to say, sales went through the roof.

Most movie tie-in products are only relevant for a few months; Eco-Cooler, on the other hand, remained on store shelves for an astounding 16 years before its forced retirement. The same green juice remained around for a few more years. First it was renamed Shoutin’ Orange Tangergreen, which was soon replaced by Crazy Citrus Cooler, which was discontinued in 2007 – a sad moment indeed for the millions of Hi-C fans who grew up with this distinctive flavor.

Whether sipped out of a small cardboard box, or poured from 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.

14 Responses to “Hi-C”

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  1. Dawn says:

    Ecto Cooler was my favorite flavor. I do remember it in the tin can!! I still like Hi C though.

  2. JANE BLAIR says:



  3. Stacy Swanson says:

    my husband loved Hi-C double berry and the orange. would love to find out where to order the original formula. The drink box’s do not taste the same.

    Please let me know where I can order.
    Thanks Stacy

  4. DEVO says:

    Hi-C was a staple in my house for years. When the Fruit Punch, Grape, or Peach flavor ran out. It was pure sadness, dinner was not dinner with out it. We dedicated a complete bottom row of our pantry to Hi-C because of the Mega Size can and loved it so much. Also so every member of the family could get a replacement can to chill in the fridge, before dad got home. Favorite 80s phrase in the house was “Ok wheres the can opener, who had it Last”. HI-C was the best!!!!

  5. Dennis says:

    I liked the old formula better,and I too wish they would have it in larger containers than the small boxes.

  6. Loved it as a kid and still drink it!

  7. Melanie says:

    You can’t get it anymore people unless you want orange from MCDs.. I want some peach Hi-C out of the giant can right now….

  8. Growing up in Phoenix you really couldn’t wait to open an ice cold can of cherry HI-C(my favorite) with that pretty cherry blossom and leaves on the label. Also that was the only thing I wanted and the only thing that made me feel better when I was home from school sick. Well that and Wallace and Ladmo an Arizona thing.

  9. Johnny C. says:

    I remember punching holes in the big ole cans of Hi-C then during them into a pitcher so I could serve it easier later.

  10. Tim says:

    Citrus cooler was the best! Drinking it right out of the cold tin can is a great childhood memory! Miss that stuff and the old days!

  11. Bill Long says:

    Thank McDonald’s for serving the old orange Hi-C.

    I’m told there is an orange version in those boxes but it’s not colored. I’d love to see if that’s true.

  12. LongCylindricalDevice says:

    I grew up on Hi-C, my favorite flavor being Citrus Cooler, which our kindergarten teacher served with graham crackers at snack time, calling it “Spider Cider” because of its fluorescent green color. When Bill Cosby started appearing on the can in the 70’s, you could peel off the labels and there were jokes, riddles and puzzles on the flip side for kids to have fun with.

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