Everything that’s wrong with the foods and drinks marketed to kids these days can be found in this bottle of Hawaiian Punch. Here’s why:
This stuff costs $1.99 for a gallon. That’s less than a gallon of milk.
It Pretends To Be Healthy
See the prominent label on the front for “100% DV vitamin C”? The manufacturer wants you to believe this drink provides something valuable. Truth is, vitamin C isn’t very hard to get from actual food. Kids ages 4-8 can get their entire day’s supply with about three medium strawberries.
The flavor is called “Green Berry Rush” and the label shows fresh strawberries and kiwi. But there are no strawberries or kiwi in here in any form. Though it contains some fruit juice concentrate and fruit purees, it’s actually just five percent fruit juice.
It Acts Like It Cares
The “Let’s Play” icon on the front label gives the impression that the drink is great for active kids. The icon actually represents an initiative from the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group to help families “make physical activity a daily priority”. It’s a strategy used heavily by the beverage industry to shift the talk about obesity away from sugary beverages and onto sedentary lifestyles. Coca-Cola does it. Pepsi does too. They want you to believe that the real reason so many adults and kids are overweight and obese is because they don’t get enough exercise–not because of what they eat and drink.
It’s Full of Junk
The ingredient list is a hot mess: The second ingredient (after water) is high fructose corn syrup. It also contains artificial flavors, two kinds of artificial food dye, two kinds of preservatives, and two kinds of artificial sweeteners (which is why they can boast “60 calories per serving” on the front).
It’s Stocked Right At Kids’ Eye Level
These brightly-colored bottles are positioned right where they can catch the eye of your young child, who will then ask you for some. More than once. At least that’s what the company is hoping.
This kind of packaging (fun colors and cartoon characters! right at a child’s eye level!) and marketing (high in vitamin C! low in calories!) is deceptive and irresponsible. And this kind of cheap, artificial food and drink is a real problem in our society. Childhood obesity has doubled in the last 30 years, and kids are developing diseases and conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome that used to only strike adults. Can we please stop marketing the worst kinds of fake food and drinks to the most vulnerable? Don’t our kids deserve better than this?