by dubby riley

by dubby riley, a loose fitting scholar

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Fuze--Deceptive Marketing

From the start I want to say that my overall impression of Fuze, the drink line which is now owned  by Coca Cola isn't THAT bad. There are some good things to report. I occasionally drink them, under certain circumstances. But I just thought you may like to know a few facts.

While we were at the Lake last weekend we went to buy a few refreshing beverages to go with a pear, cheese and bread lunch we planned to picnic on in our car, overlooking picturesque Lake of the Ozarks in Camdenton, Missouri.

My daughter grabbed a sugared drink and I noticed the pomegranate and Acai Berry drink from Fuze. Really no different than expected consumer behavior, I assumed the product had pomegranate and Acai Berry as ingredients. After all, it is named THAT!

I know quite a bit about the superfoods category. I've been to Peru and know more than a casual researcher would understand about the Acai Berry story. It is found at the top of very high palm trees in the Amazon and really does seem to possess some incredible health benefits. Pomegranate too is another superfood and both are known to be loaded with antioxidants and free radicals.

Long story short folks, there aint any pomegranate or acai berry in the Fuze drink. I called the company when I couldn't tell which ingredient in the label contained either product. They are only there in spirit. Artificial flavoring. Zero, nada, no percentage, zippo, negatory, pomegranate and acai berry have left the building!

I wondered too about the 10 calorie claim per serving and quickly learned that it was achieved with minimal apple juice but mostly sweetened with sucrolose (marketed as Splenda) and in more quantity acesulfame potasium. Both are questionable as safe, in spite of what food manufacturers want you to believe. As I understand it, both are not allowed to be used as ingredients in foods or drinks in Europe because the consumers there feel enough testing hasn't been done and there is enough evidence to wonder if they aren't down right dangerous.

I use those products in moderation but mostly avoid them.

The taste of the drink is fine. It does make you feel as if it is a healthy drink, though that is probably just the effect of marketing. These drinks by Fuze have several categories, such as Slenderize and sports drinks. They're priced at about $1.50 per drink, which as this category of drink goes, they're pretty toward the bottom of the price structure, which can be pushing $3 by some competitors.

Tip:  What I do when I want my fix for this kind of thing is I buy the little packets of sugarfree drink mixes. I like the ones from Ocean Spray, although they're probably no healthier than the rest and they also contain aspartame and acesulfame potasium. I mix the packet with an EXTRA glass of water to dilute the sweetener and then I add one cup of apple juice. I do all this for two main reasons. It gives me my sweet fix and it is inexpensive while still offering me some real juice in my drink. By doing what I described, I'm able to prepare the drink for about 10 cents a serving and am refreshed after a long run or a hot day.

If you haven't seen the research about aspartame, acesulfame potasium or sucrolose, I recommend you let your fingers do some googling.


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