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Kool-Aid Unsweetened Drink Mixes Review (All Flavors)

Updated Review Date: 06/09/2017
Original Review Date: 05/20/2011


         Since the 1930s Kool-Aid has been a big hit and that status continues today for good reason. When you combine the control we have over the amount and type of sweetener we use with the low price per unit, it's no surprise why unsweetened Kool-Aid is still so popular. And whether it's personal preference or for health reasons, unsweetened Kool-Aid mixes are a sound choice since they contain no sugar or calories and are low in sodium.
         The current lineup of 17 readily available Kool-Aid flavors includes: Tropical Punch, Grape, Cherry, Black Cherry, Orange, Berry Cherry, Peach Mango, Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, Sharkleberry Fin, Pink Lemonade, Lemon-Lime, Strawberry, Strawberry Kiwi, Stawberry Lemonade, Blue Raspberry Lemonade and Watermelon. All of these unsweetened flavors are available at Amazon. While well over 20 flavors of Kool-Aid exist, only the ones that are not hard to find online are covered here (grocery stores usually have far less of a selection than online stores and are generally more expensive).
         Unsweetened Kool-Aid drink mixes are still available in those familiar foil-paper envelopes and each one makes 2 quarts. Because these mixes are unsweetened, you may also want to read some of the various sweetener reviews and sweetener articles I've posted on the site, as you do have a wide range of choices when choosing a sugar alternative. Lastly, this is a consolidated review and as time permits I'll break down the review into more in-depth reviews for each flavor over the coming months. In the meantime there is enough overall information here to at least give you an informed look at unsweetened Kool-Aid.
         With that summary under the belt, it's time to move on to the details of the review.

Nutrition Information for All Kool-Aid Unsweetened Drink Mixes

The various unsweetened Kool-Aid sugar free powdered drink mixes have virtually the same nutritional information listed on the 2-quart envelopes with only a small variance in sodium between flavors. Each 1g serving of powdered unsweetened Kool-Aid mix (8oz. prepared) has the following nutritional values:

Calories: 0
Sodium: 5 to 15mg
Sugars: 0g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Total Fat: 0g
Vitamin C: 10% USRDA

Ingredients of All Kool-Aid Unsweetened Drink Mixes

The consolidated list of ingredients common to all unsweetened Kool-Aid powdered drink mixes is below, along with any additional ingredients that are specific to only some of the flavors:

Citric acid, Calcium Phosphate, Salt, Maltodextrin (dietetically insignificant and found in all flavors except Tropical Punch, Cherry, Lemon-Lime snd Strawberry), Natural and/or artificial flavors, Tocopherols (Vitamin E used as a preservative found in Sharkleberry Fin and Cherry Limeade), Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), Artificial colorings depending on product (for example, Red 40, Blue 1, etc.), BHA (a preservative with antioxidant properties found in Tropical Punch, Orange, Pink Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, Lemonade, Blue Rasperry Lemonade, Lemon-Lime Cherry Limeade) Modified Cornstarch (found in Tropical Punch, Berry Cherry, Blue Rasperry Lemonade), Mannitol (found only in Berry Cherry)

The Scorecard for All Kool-Aid Unsweetened Drink Mixes

Using the 4 point rating system (1 point per category), unsweetened Kool-Aid scores as follows:

Taste: Very good taste for all flavors according to the three taste testers, and I agree with them. Of the ten flavors taste tested we could easily taste the difference between flavors as long as we sweetened them properly. In one taste test session we used Stevia In the Raw (Stevia extract) and in another we used Splenda (sucralose); both had great tasting results for all of us, but we were all in agreement that Stevia in The Raw was a bit better tasting as the sweetener for all the mixes we tried. In case you're thinking of trying these mixes without sweetener you should know that they're quite bitter, and tasting the difference between flavors is nearly impossible without some type of sweetener. Overall these unsweetened Kool-Aid mixes get a top score on flavor. (+1)

Packaging Waste: The packaging for the envelopes is as minimal as possible and the foil-paper packaging is fully recyclable, so it's an easy top score here. (+1)

Value: Unsweetened Kool-Aid mixes are by far the least expensive sugar free drink mix on the market, and you get a considerable amount of mix for your money. For example, a variety box of 48, 2-quart packets can be found as low as $13.50! thats 96 quarts of Kool-Aid! Considering the otherworldly value there is a +.25 bonus due. (+1.25)

Health Factor: For the unsweetened Kool-Aid powders, nothing stands out as particularly unhealthy. The BHA used a preservative in many of the mixes is in such a small amount that it is dietetically insignificant, and the case is pretty much closed on the fact that it is not harmful to humans and actually has some antioxidant properties (there is an upcoming article about this preservative, so keep an eye out for it). However, cherry, orange and peach mango have 3 different colorings and any product that has more than 2 colorings gets an automatic .25 point deduction.
         The most important health factor for the various unsweetened Kool-Aid flavors is the ability to sweeten them yourself. Going this route you'll never be stuck with a particular sweetener that you might not care for or are sensitive to. With the exclusion of cherry, orange and peach mango, Unsweetened Kool-Aid gets an easy top score for health factor. (+1 for all flavors except cherry, orange and peach mango which get +.75)

Overall Rating: Orange, cherry and peach mango get a perfect 4 (with the extra coloring being offset by the extraordinary value) and all other flavors get a smooth 4.25. These scores land Unsweetened Kool-Aid by Kraft Foods the rarely given Golden Cup Award. It's no wonder that Kool-Aid is still going strong after nearly 90 years.


Unsweetened Kool-Aid Drink Mix - Winner of The Golden Cup Award




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