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Tang (drink mix)

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Product typeArtificially flavored drink mix
OwnerMondelēz International (except North America)
Kraft Heinz (North America)
Introduced1957; 67 years ago (1957)
Previous ownersGeneral Foods
Kraft Foods Inc.

Tang is an American drink mix brand that was formulated by General Foods Corporation food scientist William A. Mitchell[1] and General Foods Corporation chemist William Bruce James[2] in 1957, and first marketed in powdered form in 1959.[3][4] The Tang brand is currently owned in most countries by Mondelēz International, a North American company spun off from Kraft Foods in 2012. Kraft Heinz owns the Tang brand in North America.

Sales of Tang were poor until NASA used it on John Glenn's Mercury flight in February 1962,[5] and on subsequent Gemini missions.[6] Since then it has been closely associated with the U.S. human spaceflight program, which created the misconception that Tang was invented for the space program.[7][8] Tang continues to be used on NASA missions in the present day, over 50 years after its introduction.[9]


General Foods Corporation food scientist William A. Mitchell and chemist William Bruce James formulated and trademarked Tang in 1957.[1][2][10] Tang entered test markets in 1958 and was available to the public beginning in 1959.[10]

Tang was used by early NASA crewed space flights.[11] In 1962, when Mercury astronaut John Glenn conducted eating experiments in orbit, Tang was selected for the menu;[3] it was also used during some Gemini flights, and has also been carried aboard numerous space shuttle missions. Although many soda companies sent specially designed canned drinks into space with the crew of STS-51-F, the crew preferred to use Tang, as it could be mixed into existing water containers easily. In 2013, former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin said, "Tang sucks".[12] In his autobiography, published forty years earlier, Aldrin had further clarified: "I can't speak for the other flights, but before (Apollo 11), the three of us dutifully sampled the orange drink, supposedly Tang, and instead chose a grapefruit-orange mixture as our citrus drink. If Tang was on our flight I was unaware of it."[13]

The creator of Tang, William A. Mitchell, also invented Pop Rocks, Cool Whip, a form of instant-set Jell-O, and other convenience foods.[14] Chemist William Bruce James also invented several Jell-O flavors.[15]

Tang's advertising in the 1990s and early 2000s featured an orangutan as a mascot.

Nutritional facts[edit]

Tang is sold in powdered and liquid-concentrate form. The suggested serving size is two tablespoons, or 31 grams of powdered Original Orange flavored Tang per 8 US fluid ounces (240 ml) of water. A single suggested serving of Tang contains 29 grams (1.0 oz) of sugar (representing 94% of the product's dry weight); 10% RDA of carbohydrates; 100% RDA of vitamin E; 100% RDA of vitamin C; 6% RDA of calcium and has a total of 120 calories (500 kJ).[16]

Other versions[edit]

In 2007, Kraft introduced a new version of Tang which replaced half of the sugar with artificial sweeteners. The new packaging advertises "1/2 the sugar of 100% juice".[17] The artificial sweeteners used in the new formulation are sucralose, acesulfame potassium and neotame. The new formula is more concentrated and distributed in smaller containers, with a 12.3 US fl oz (360 ml) (348 g (12.3 oz)) making 8 US quarts (7,600 ml).

According to the preparation instructions on the 20 oz (590 ml) Tang orange drink mix, 2 level tablespoons of the Tang drink mix can be combined with 1 cup or 8 fl oz (240 ml) of cold water for 1 serving of the beverage.[18]

In 2009, another version of Tang emerged in 20 US fl oz (590 ml) containers making only 6 US quarts (5,700 ml).

Orange flavored Tang contributes to most sales worldwide; however, there are a wide range of flavors of Tang offered globally.[19] Some of these flavors include grape, lemon, mango, pineapple, and many more.[19]


Tang is sold in about thirty-five countries and is available in a variety of flavors depending on location.[19] The top three markets for Tang around the world are Brazil, Argentina, and the Philippines.[20]

In the Middle East, more than half of Tang's annual sales occur in just six weeks around Ramadan.[19]

In June 2011, Kraft Foods announced that Tang has become its twelfth billion-dollar brand, with global sales nearly doubling since 2006.[21] The brand in 2010 controlled a category-best 15.6% of the international powder concentrate market[21] although, like other highly processed or sweetened beverages, demand in developed economies has stagnated or fallen in line with consumers increasing preference for lower calorie drinks.[22] In 2018, Tang's manufacturer Mondelez reported a drop in sales following the introduction of tax on calorific sweetened beverages in the Philippines.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Steyn, Mark (November 2004). "Tastemaker With a Sweet Tooth". Atlantic Monthly.
  2. ^ a b Lippman, Laura (July 19, 1999). "A match made in heavens; Consumers: Products linked to the 1960s Apollo missions saw over-the- moon sales and in turn helped promote the space program. An exhibit has landed at the Enoch Pratt Free Library". Baltimore Sun.
  3. ^ a b "Spinoff Frequently Asked Questions". NASA.gov. Archived from the original on October 3, 2006.
  4. ^ "Tang breakfast drink". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (advertisement). February 12, 1960. p. 27.
  5. ^ Courter, Barry (May 13, 2007). "Boomers collect artifacts, memories of NASA's heyday". Times Free Press. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011.
  6. ^ "From Gemini to Apollo-Soyuz". Washington Afro-American. (advertisement). August 9, 1975. p. 7.
  7. ^ Olver, Lynne (2000). "Food Timeline : popular American foods by decade : Tang, The "Space Age" Drink". The Food Timeline.
  8. ^ Pearlman, Robert Z. (November 23, 2006). "Space Food: From Squeeze Tubes To Celebrity Chefs". Space.com.
  9. ^ "Space Food Systems - NASA". March 16, 2023. Retrieved January 21, 2024.
  10. ^ a b "The Food Timeline--beverages". www.foodtimeline.org. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  11. ^ "Space Food Hall of Fame". NASA.gov. Archived from the original on October 15, 2011.
  12. ^ "Now He Tells Us: 'Tang Sucks,' Says Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin". The Two-Way. NPR.
  13. ^ Return to Earth. Open Road Media. December 15, 2015. ISBN 9781504026444.
  14. ^ Muir, David (April 19, 2006). "Candy Celebrates 50 Years of Popping". ABC News. (Video.)
  15. ^ Lippman, Laura (July 19, 1999). "A match made in heavens; Consumers: Products linked to the 1960s Apollo missions saw over-the- moon sales and in turn helped promote the space program. An exhibit has landed at the Enoch Pratt Free Librar". Baltimore Sun.
  16. ^ "TANG Orange". www.kraftcanada.com. Kraft. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  17. ^ Turner, M. (April 13, 2001). "Tang Ingredients". Everything2.com.
  18. ^ "Tang Orange Drink Mix". HEB Supermarket Company. Retrieved July 5, 2022.
  19. ^ a b c d "TANG 2017 Fact Sheet" (PDF). Mondelez International. 2017. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  20. ^ "Corporate Fact Sheet Tang v06" (PDF). Mondelez International. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  21. ^ a b E. J. Schultz (June 16, 2011). "To the Moon and Back: How Tang Grew to Be a Billion-Dollar Global Brand". Ad Age. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  22. ^ Ann Vandermey (December 12, 2011). "What ever happened to Tang?". Fortune. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  23. ^ Othel V. Campos (June 6, 2018). "Sweetened beverage tax under Train reduces sales of Tang powdered juice". Manila Standard. Retrieved June 10, 2019.

External links[edit]