Rivella Yellow: Iconic Swiss brand launches new vegan soft drink

Rivella Yellow: Iconic Swiss brand launches new vegan soft drink

More than a decade after it was taken off the shelves of Swiss supermarkets, the iconic local drinks brand Rivella has announced the return of its yellow variety. However, this brand-new drink comes with a twist, as it is the first-ever fully vegan Rivella.

Rivella Yellow: Swiss soft drink goes vegan

In a statement, Rivella announced that it was launching a brand new version of its soft drink. Called Rivella Yellow, the drink promises to have 40 percent less sugar than Rivella Red, and crucially, be completely vegan - meaning it is devoid of the milk whey integral to the original recipe. 

Speaking to 20 Minuten, co-marketing manager Sara Jermann said that the new vegan Rivella was a response to changing habits among consumers. “Vegetarian and vegan cuisine has become widespread in Switzerland. And the number of people with lactose intolerance continues to increase,” she noted, adding that the new Rivella will allow many new people to try the drink for the very first time.

She confirmed that the new recipe has “nothing in common” with the previous Rivella Yellow - a low-calorie version of Rivella with added vitamin C, which was launched in 2008 but discontinued in 2011. Jermann concluded that customers should be able to purchase the new vegan Rivella at Swiss supermarkets from March 2024.

What is Rivella?

Second in sales only to international brand Coca-Cola, Rivella is affectionately known as Switzerland’s favourite local soft drink. It was first created in a bathroom in Rapperswil in 1951 by lawyer Robert Barth, and refined by dairy biologist Hans Süsli from ETH in Zurich.

Rivella was originally an attempt to create a soft drink using the waste products produced by the Swiss dairy industry - hence why milk whey and lactic acid are integral parts of the original recipe. The arrangement was positive for both sides, as farmers were able to sell whey that would have been thrown away, while Barth would be given a local and sustainable sweetener for the drink.

What does the Swiss soft drink Rivella taste like?

Rivella is hard to describe taste-wise, but is not overly sweet thanks to the whey and has notes of herbs and ginger, creating quite a refreshing albeit peculiar flavour. The name Rivella was inspired by the Ticinese village of Riva San Vitale and the Italian word Rivelazione (Revelation).

Despite initial reluctance, the soft drink slowly rose to become the most popular soft drink in Switzerland, with the company's main factory in Canton Aargau producing 80 million litres of Rivella every year. In terms of absolute sales, the brand was only overtaken in Switzerland by Coca-Cola in 2013. 

However, Rivella failed to find many fans outside of Swiss cities and cantons. The Netherlands, Liechtenstein and German, Austrian and French border towns are the only places you can find the drink outside of Switzerland.

Thumb image credit Taljat David /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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