Today, Kraft Foods unveiled their new “MiO” water flavorings, a line of calorie-free concentrated liquids that will be available to consumers in March. The sleekly packaged flavorings are meant to enhance the flavor of water — a sort of economical alternative to buying individual bottles of diet, flavored waters. Apparently, this is big news to some because Kraft hasn’t forayed into a new food or beverage category in 15 years. To me, MiO reads to me like a distress signal: Americans have become so used to processed food and drink, they can’t even drink plain, all-natural water.
I don’t aim to extol the merits of unadulterated water; I frequently add a lemon slice or POM juice to mine for extra zip. I’m interested in the health benefits of citrus and berries (none of which I imagine Kraft will pass along in its palm-sized flavor dispensers), and I’m equally interested in avoiding the potentially harmful effects of artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners, which are a gamble at best. At worst, they’re linked to cancer and strokes — not a risk I’d like to take.
I know I’m not the only one who shudders at the thought of flavored water, but apparently, there are a lot more people who’d prefer to drink water that tastes like it came from Willy Wonka’s factory than a mineral-rich artesian spring. If Kraft is willing to venture into new territory after 15 years of playing it safe, they must be certain that the market for flavored water is big. (And they would know better than me.) It’s no news that Americans are good at turning a blind eye to the health consequences of processed but tasty junk, but it’s news, at least to me, that we’ve gone so far off the deep end that we can’t even drink water unless it’s laced with fake flavor to bait us.
Let’s stop offering our money up for “food and beverage” products that have no nutritional benefit. If you can’t give up a burger, fries, or two desserts a day, at least give up drinking chemical-laden beverages and drink some plain old water.
via USA Today