I’m sure you’ve seen the commercial for MiO, the so-called “water enhancer.” The visually stunning spot starts with the camera focused on a clear glass of water. Suddenly, someone squeezes a few drops of MiO into it. The camera stays on the glass as the dyes and chemicals disperse in the water. The first time I saw it it reminded me of a junior high chemistry class — the one when you learn about concentrates.
My husband saw it for the first time last night. I was in the kitchen cleaning up. “Get in here,” he yelled, incredulous. “You’ve got to see this! It’s flavored food coloring for water!”
He’s right, of course. Today I went to the product’s Facebook page, and checked out the ingredients. Here’s what Kraft Foods Global, the manufacturer, has to say about it:
“MiO is sweetened with Sucralose, a calorie-free, artificial sweetener that is 600 times sweeter than sugar. Generally, non-nutritive sweeteners are calorie free in finished products because they impart high sweetness intensity and are needed only in very small amounts to give desired sweetness to a product. Artificial sweeteners provide sweetness without adding calories to help individuals watching their calorie and sugar intake. To maintain color and freshness, MiO does use certain preservatives and artificial colorings.”
Some, hu? The water additive contains Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40, Blue 1, Malic Acid, and Propylene Glycol. You all know how I feel about artificial colors and sweeteners. I’m not the only one who has problems with the ingredients, either. The folks on the product’s Facebook page have been complaining for a while not only about the artificial colors, but about the use of sucralose and acesulfame potassium — both artificial sweeteners.
One poster wrote:
“Ugh. I was kind of excited about this product until I saw all of the artificial coloring and use of sucralose.*sigh* maybe someday someone will get it right.”
Someone else wrote:
“I see a TON of comments the same as mine about using Stevia, etc. I don’t understand why companies still insist on using these “sugars” when people are becoming more conscious of what they are ingesting! The only reason to do it is for cost…. most of the market still buys soda for $1 a liter over some good ol green tea for much more than that. :0/ So, money is all it’s about I assume.”
Based on this feedback, and the fact that more and more people are waking up to the potential health problems these drinks contribute to, I’m thinking that MiO is going to do as well as New Coke. I predict it will be off the market by the end of the year. In the meantime: Kraft, what is WRONG with your R&D folks? As the many, many comments on your Facebook page confirm, you’d probably have a hit on your hands if you used natural plant-based coloring, natural sweeteners, and natural flavors. People are actually willing to spend money on stuff that tastes good and isn’t bad for them. I know I am.
But that brings me to another question: Why is Kraft pushing the idea that water is boring and needs enhancement? Me, I add a little splash of real fruit juice, or a squeeze of lemon, oranges, or another citrus fruit to my water if I’m in the mood for a little kick. I’m still saving a few bucks, and I get a little vitamin C in the process as well. How about you? What do you think of MiO and the other water additives out there?