I vividly remember the commercials featuring the Kool-Aid Man. That pitcher-shaped, laid back, baritone dude could even bust through brick walls! I drank gallons of the stuff. I even remember making Kool-Aid when I was babysitting. I could quickly locate the family’s stash of colored pouches and tub of white sugar. It was a recipe for middle-class living at its finest.
Fast forward to adult me. I would never serve this to my kids and definitely not someone else’s children. An obesity epidemic can certainly give one some perspective. I’ve learned to appreciate authentic fruit packed with fiber and vitamins.
Here’s a gorgeous shot I took of Middle E on a rare outing with just the two of us. He pointed at this display of Kool-Aid and asked if there was fruit inside the pouches. I answered, “Nope.”
He wisely answered with another question, “Why does it have a picture of fruit when it doesn’t have fruit in it?” I said, “Isn’t that silly!” What I wanted to do was hug him and swing him around the aisle for making that obvious, but critical connection that packaging can be misleading. He wanted to model his best Yuck Face next to the display. Perfect.
What Middle E will understand in a few years is that Kool-Aid is just trying to sell a product. They aren’t interested in public health. Fruit is messy and it costs a lot to produce and ship. There are a million reasons why companies like Kraft (who owns Kool-Aid) will try to find ways to sell us food-like products that are less temperamental than actual fruit.
Can you find the fruit in the ingredient list for the Soarin’ Strawberry Lemonade, that features bright red strawberries on the packaging?
CITRIC ACID, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, MALTODEXTRIN, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), ARTIFICIAL COLOR, RED 40, BHA (PRESERVES FRESHNESS). (source: Koolaid.com)
I didn’t see it either. Unless Red 40 is now the new word for strawberry.
In the meantime, I will let my kids ask lots of questions about food marketing, packaging, and ingredient lists. We will also enjoy sipping whole fruit smoothies that could potentially make us strong enough to break through brick walls.
Thanks for making it through my rant. I’ll reward you with something lighthearted tomorrow. Have an amazing day!