Are Organic Drinks Really Worth All the Hype?

are organic drinks worth the hype?

We’re all for organic food — that should be obvious. But sometimes companies make choices to release organic products that just seem counterintuitive, if not completely useless, and this is particularly true when it comes to organic drinks. It’s as though the buzz of the word “organic” negates all of the other unhealthy attributes of these products, blinding consumers to what’s really being sold. To give you an idea of what we’re talking about, here are just three organic drinks that we think never should have left company headquarters.

gatorade

Gatorade image via Shutterstock

1. Organic Gatorade

The announcement of the release of organic Gatorade in December 2015 was a clear marketing move on the part of PepsiCo. Nearly 49 percent of drink purchases were “healthy” drinks in 2013, according to Euromonitor, and PepsiCo has been taking clear steps to get in on the action, for example, with the launch of its “Hello Goodness” vending units in December. But while organic juices make sense, organic Gatorade strikes us as just plain odd.

Gatorade contains water, sucrose, dextrose, citric acid, natural flavoring, sodium chloride, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, flavoring/coloring ingredients, and brominated vegetable oil. In other words, not one “real” ingredient in the list. Why someone would opt for this chemical cocktail is beyond us, but slap an organic label on it, and some people may be suckered into thinking this drink is actually healthy.

Instead, Choose: Hydrating coconut water or plain water with fresh citrus juice, which contains electrolytes, a pinch of salt (sodium is an electrolyte too!), and a drizzle of honey. The glucose will help you absorb the electrolytes in the citrus even better.

capri sun

Capri Sun image via Shutterstock

2. Organic Capri Sun

Yet another head-scratcher from the sweet beverages department. Capri-Sun is popular for kids, as it comes in self-contained packages that can be easily passed back in the car or chucked into a lunchbox. But we have two beefs with this product.

The first is that packaging. In May of last year, a coalition of environmental groups started pressuring Kraft via the “Make It, Take It” initiative to choose a less environmentally harmful package than the plastic-bonded aluminum. While the company at first seemed receptive to these suggestions, there has since been no news on an intention to change this packaging.

What was announced, however, was an organic version of the juice drink in April 2016, a drink that’s actually less healthy than the original, according to a Huffington Post article, which compared the original and organic drinks and found that the latter contained more sodium and sugar than the original.

Instead, Choose: Fresh fruit, which contains even more vitamins and minerals, not to mention essential fiber.

organic water

Organic water image via Shutterstock

3. Organic Herbal Water

This is a real head-scratcher. Several companies have been releasing so-called “organic” water, even though under the National Organic Program policy, water cannot be certified as organic, even if it is sourced on an organic farm.

The one exception to this is flavored waters, where it is not the water being certified, but the flavorings being used, like with Ayala’s Herbal Water. In the case of this and other similar products, you’re basically paying upmarket rates for a bottle of water where a minuscule percentage of the ingredients in the bottle have actually been certified organic.

Instead, Choose: Filtered water. You can infuse water at home with any number of organic ingredients, like citrus, cucumber, or herbs. Making it yourself will make the water taste fresher and allow you to take better advantage of the vitamins and minerals in your chosen add-ins.

Of course, this isn’t the be all and end-all of organic drinks that just don’t seem worth all the excitement (not to mention the price). From organic sodas that are packed full of sugar to organic juices that remove all of that useful fiber, there’s still a host of organic drinks floating by under the false pretenses that they’re healthy.

Did we miss any organic drinks that you think need to be called out? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter.

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Infused water image via Shutterstock

 

Emily Monaco
Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.