Tang is short for tangy and also suggests the flavor of tangerine.
Following the introduction of instant coffee and powdered milk, General Foods decided to create a breakfast beverage from a powder that required no refrigeration, mixed with water into single servings, and provided the taste of real orange juice and all the same vitamins. Scientists at the Post Division of General Foods struggled to infuse the powder with stable, water-soluble forms of vitamin A, develop an orange coloring, and prevent the powder from caking in the jar.
In 1957, after two years of research, General Foods Corporation launched Tang powdered beverage in test markets in the United States. In 1959, General Foods introduced Tang in Canada and Venezuela, and two years later, in Great Britain and Peru.
In 1965, Tang accompanied the astronauts on the Gemini spaceflights and all United States spaceflights through to the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969, helping Tang garner a reputation as a nutritionally balanced futuristic food.
On Saturday Night Live, Mrs. Loopner (Jane Curtin) and her daughter Lisa Loopner (Gilda Radner) drank Tang by the pitcher. Beldar Conehead (Dan Aykroyd) consumed mass quantities of the orange powder dry and straight from the jar.
Most Tang drinkers in the United States are children aged nine to 12.
Tang is sold in more than 60 countries.
Kraft sells sour cherry flavored Tang in Turkey, mango flavors in Saudi Arabia and the Philippines, a sweeter orange flavor in Brazil, and a tarter orange flavor in Argentina.