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October 19, 2012 • News, Reviews, Yum Log

Dasani Drops Water Enhancer Review

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!

The Hype:
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 PlantBottleĀ® 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.

The Reality:

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:

Taste:
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.

Price:
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.

Mess:
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.

Nutrition:
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.

Conclusions:

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: Dasani.com 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

9 Responses to " Dasani Drops Water Enhancer Review "

  1. Mary Fusco Mattioni says:

    I just tried the Dasani Pink Lemonade because they were out of the one MIO flavor that I like. its too sweet. Not tangy enough. Won’t be bying it again.

  2. Noir Comics says:

    What does Dasani have that other liquid water enhancers don’t? It’s not flavor. It’s not economy. It’s a guerilla marketing campaign that has dozens of bloggers pretending to write unbiased reviews of their product after becoming 3rd party reviewers for Dasani. Several of the blogs including this one show these sample kits that weren’t just handed out to anyone. I bought two of these based on this review, and I’m severely disappointed. First, they taste like chemicals in a bottle. They barely even taste like the flavors they’re meant to represent, whereas, MIO don’t have that chemical flavor, even if they don’t always taste exactly like the flavor stated on the bottle. Second, Dasani says 32 servings on the bottle, compared with MIO’s 24. Well, I found when using the same amount of squirts the Dasani is far weaker, which leads me to believe they way overestimated the strength of their product. Weaker taste means you have to use way more of the product to get proper flavoring, so MIO also beats Dasani in the economy area. I even found that the generic Target, Market Pantry, brand tastes better and requires less to flavor a similar amount of water. I feel totally ripped off and I definitely won’t be buying these again.

    • Carly Z says:

      I think it is more than a bit unfair to call Mike a shill because he reviewed a supplied sample, which was disclosed at the bottom of the post.

      Also, you’ll note that more than once he referred to the product as a “chemistry experiment”; that’s hardly a ringing endorsement, if anything it is a turn off. Though to be fair, Mio and Crystal Light both fall into the “chemistry experiment” category as well.

      Finally, Mike did note that his boys preferred a heavier amount of Dasani than he did. Taste is very, very subjective, so what tastes overly sweet to me may taste weak to you. Hence how Mike was able to get more out of the drops than his sons would have, since they would have used more per serving.

      It’s unfortunate that you feel ripped off, but just because you felt the taste was funky doesn’t mean everyone does. The better avenue would probably be to pass your feedback on to Dasani directly! If they hear from many people that the drops taste chemical-y, maybe they will adjust the formula.

      By the way, if you’re looking for a truly economical answer to flavoring water, and you like lemon or lime flavor, the best option is to buy a large bottle of lemon or lime juice. I’ve seen my local grocery story carry huge bottles for under $2, and those are just pure lemon or lime juice…no chemistry experiment taste there!

      • Noir Comics says:

        The reason I’m calling him and a bunch of other reviewers who reviewed these shills is because they have these sample kits that weren’t available to the public. They’re sample kits, but Dasani spent so much money putting those packages together they’re rather more like a press kit than a sample kit. I think that’s a more than fair observation. I went to Target and bought them just like any customer would. Perhaps Mike would have felt differently if he had paid 16 dollars for the four flavor bottles, a dollar for the Dasani water bottle, and another 3-5 dollars for the designer Dasani pen? I’d be feeling pretty good if I got that kit for free, plus making money by reviewing them.

        Also, Mike explains why he used the term “Chemistry Experiment” right in his article. It wasn’t to bash the product.

        BTW, I’m not at all trying to take a crack at Mike. There’s a dozen other reviewers that have very similar reviews up about this particular product, and they all have the same half-cocked endorsement of the product. I respect Mike for his writing skills, and for his work. It’s just that people work hard for their money and I want to recommend people not spend $8.80 on these like I did to find out they don’t meet their expectations. I suppose if I had bought one bottle at $4.40 I’d be less irritated about it. Perhaps not?

        • dancohen says:

          You- The reason I’m calling him and a bunch of other reviewers who reviewed these shills is because they have these sample kits that weren’t available to the public.

          I don’t understand why that would make him a shill.

          You- They’re sample kits, but Dasani spent so much money putting those packages together they’re rather more like a press kit than a sample kit. I think that’s a more than fair observation.

          It is not fair but the fact that you think calling someone a shill is merely an observation means there isn’t much to discuss with you.

          You- I went to Target and bought them just like any customer would. Perhaps Mike would have felt differently if he had paid 16 dollars for the four flavor bottles, a dollar for the Dasani water bottle, and another 3-5 dollars for the designer Dasani pen? I’d be feeling pretty good if I got that kit for free, plus making money by reviewing them.

          Mike didn’t write about how he was “feeling” he used the samples, he and the family tasted them and then he wrote about the experience in as honest a manner as possible. I don’t see how having paid for the samples would have made the water taste any different.

          You- BTW, I’m not at all trying to take a crack at Mike.

          You called him a shill and you now say you weren’t taking a crack at Mike? Honestly I have to wonder if you have been drining something other than Dasani water. Had you simply written about your experience with the water, shared your disappointment and your frustration with paying for the product when you were disappointed it would have been one thing. Instead you went after Mike, a guy who has more integrity than pretty much anyone I know. Yes, he got a sample from the company but he, and we, share our honest experiences with products. If we love a product we say so. If we hate a product we say so. And if the product falls somewhere in the middle we try our best to share the good and the bad. Oh, and Mike signs his name and stands by his reviews and comments. It would be great if you were willing to do the same.

          • Noir Comics says:

            So you’re denying that the price a person pays for something in some way effects their enjoyment of it? Price is one of the main factors anyone figures into making a purchase. And no I wasn’t taking a crack at him personally. I was discussing the possibility of bias in his review. I was also raising the possibility that he’s a paid reviewer. Carly first used the word “shill” and it’s not a word I would have originally chosen. It’s too strong of a word in my opinion. Even if he is a paid reviewer “shill” isn’t a word I would choose. I just used it because Carly used it. Mike seems like a great guy, but this isn’t about Mike as a person. You’re just making it about him. And you’re making it personally about me as well. I’m not really going to play that game.

  3. Hey Mike. Thanks so much for this video. I love Dasani Drops and have bought two bottles. I usually drink a lot of soda, but thanks to your video, I looked into Dasani Drops and have cut my soda intake tremendously.

    Anyways, keep up the good work.

  4. Kim says:

    I enjoy the Strawberry Kiwi and Mixed berry flavors. I really don’t like drinking water, but I have to due to my change in eating habits and working out 4 days a week. Sometimes I do need the Dasani Drops to help me with getting my water intake. I guess it’s better than a soda or juice.

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