In what surprisingly became a rather hotly debated topic here recently, we discussed the importance of staying hydrated. As was noted, water is the more important than food in terms of survival. But for too many, their liquid water intake is through sugary and caffeine-loaded soda and coffee and energy drinks. The best way to get your liquid water is … from water. For me I am happy with plain water, and have a 30-oz TupperWare cup at my desk all day to offset the heat/AC vent blowing dry air about six feet away from me.
But for many, the thought of drinking plain water all day makes them feel like they are dying inside … so we have had successful ‘individual drink’ flavor packets like Crystal Light – which were too much for some, too little for others. This led to the advent of ‘custom flavor’ drops such as the Mio from Kraft which arrived in 2011. Now Coca-Cola has released Dasani Drops, the calorie-free flavored drops companion to their popular Dasani Water products. I was selected to act as a ‘Taste Leader’ and was sent a sample-pack before they hit stores. Let’s take a look!
Taste has always been a matter of preference. Starting this fall, DASANI, America’s No. 1 favorite water brand, will give people across the country the power to create their own personalized taste experience by putting flavor at their fingertips. DASANI, which introduced the innovative new PlantBottle® packaging nationally in 2011, is again bringing something new and refreshing to the water category. DASANI DROPS is a zero-calorie liquid beverage enhancer that allows people to add a veritable burst of flavor to their water.
For me as a consumer I really care about several things in this sort of product: taste, price, convenience, mess, portability, and nutrition. So let’s walk through all of them:
Given the choice between soda and some of the lightly flavored water products available, I would choose the water (except when I am going straight for caffeine). I am not a fan of energy drinks such as Red Bull, and I will drink the G2 Gatorade (the ‘lighter’ flavored one) but really only when exercising … and I am definitely NOT a fan of the heavily sugary-tasting soda or juice products. I state that as background for what I like in terms of flavor.
As shown in the video (below), I found that a single squirt of Dasani Drops per 8oz of water provided a good balance of flavor that reminded me of water drinks I enjoy. I had my entire family try out a variety of flavors, and the kids definitely had heavier hands, but in general we found that two squirts for a 16oz glass was plenty of flavor and a hint of color that everyone enjoyed. We tried four squirts of the Mixed Berry in a 30-oz cup and the kids enjoyed it more than Lisa and I!
In general it tastes just like similar flavored water products, so if you like those, then you will certainly find a balance you enjoy with Dasani Drops.
I wasn’t given pricing on Dasani Drops, but this CBS spot estimates $4 per bottle and the Mio sells for ~$3-$4 per bottle that makes 24 drinks. I would assume a similar price – $4 for the 32 drink bottle, $12.50 for a 4-pack (Amazon pricing for the Mio). Compare this with ~$14 for a 60-count pack of Crystal Light singles and the pricing isn’t too bad. It would break down to about $0.12 for each Dasani Drops flavored water.
Portability and Convenience:
Having a product that has a one-way valve for dispensing, a snap-lock cover, and a bottle that is rigid enough to prevent accidental dispensing all adds up to something you can easily carry in your lunch bag or computer bag without concern.
I have two teenage boys … which should say enough. When there is a mess to be made – they are ALWAYS up to the challenge. But with the Dasani Drops valve and cover, it is simple for them to dispense the product, flip the lid shut … and I have not seen a bit of mess.
That might seem obvious, but while we’ve never used the Mio drops we HAVE used Crystal Light singles, and there always seems to be a sugar mess and the ripped off top left behind.
Have you ever looked at the ingredient lists of flavored water products? Typically some artificial sweetener, a flavor stabilizer, some colors and natural flavors and not much else. Not ‘fruit juice’, but ‘natural flavor’. In other words … a chemistry experiment. As you see from the ingredients of the Strawberry Kiwi flavor pictures (no way you could tell which flavor from the ingredients list), there is neither strawberry nor kiwi involved in the making of the drink.
Some have expressed concerns about the colorants and other ingredients, in particular Acesulfame Potassium which is another sweetener that some think might be a carcinogen, but studies are too old and unreliable to know either way.
But I do say ‘chemistry experiment’ for a reason – my wife has sensitivity to coconuts but had no issue with the pineapple-coconut flavor.
Look at it this way – Dasani isn’t marketing this stuff as healthy or nutritious, but rather as a way of flavoring up ‘boring’ water … and more importantly having CONTROL over the flavor level in your water. Their point is that rather than guzzling soda, you can flavor up some water and cut down on the caffeine and sugar loading. And quite honestly … they’re right.
Dan wrote about the Aqua Zinger, a way of infusing natural fruits into your drinks. Personally I have enjoyed simply having a fruit snack (currently loving apple season in western New York) along with water. There are other all-natural alternatives such as Capella Flavors for Water. Those contain all-natural concentrates, propylene glycol (same as all flavor drops), water and stevia (natural sweetener), and cost about the same (or less) per drink. My point – it IS possible to get all-natural flavor supplements for less than these all-chemical solutions.
But those of us who like water by itself; who infuse their own water; who seek natural products … we are not really the target for Dasani Drops. The target is those who are trying to cut down on soda but don’t like plain water; they like flavored water but find most brands to be too strong or too weak; and they want a product that offers them flexibility and convenience. For THAT person, Dasani Drops is perfect.
Here is my hands-on video of Dasani Drops:
Review: Dasani Drops
Where to Buy:or your local retailer (when available)
Price: Estimate ~$4 for 32-drink bottle
What I Like: Great flavor; no mess; convenient and well designed bottle; competitive pricing
What Needs Improvement: No natural ingredients;
Source: Manufacturer provided review sample