Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fruit 66: Orange Tangerine

One of the downfalls of being a hobbyist beverage reviewer is the propensity to buy new drinks every time that I see one. I love the habit, don't get me wrong, but it can be fairly expensive sometimes, especially since some of these beverages are not exactly cheap. This past sunday was an excellent example of this phenomenon. I walked into Bi-Lo with the intention of buying only hot chocolate and walked out with seven beverages. Fruit 66 was included in this assortment, and I had the chance to try it last night.

I must say, unfortunately, that I was not entirely impressed by the beverage. Despite it's adorable name, the drink is a bit lacking in overall flavor. Even by the end of the drink, I was not entirely sure of what I was tasting. I could taste the orange flavorings (although mostly just the tangerine) here and there, but overall the drink had a weird, empty taste to it that left me rather unsatisfied. What I did taste of the orange tasted more like the orange portion of creamsicle flavoring, and the drink had a heavy artificial taste despite its claims of 100% all-natural ingredients. It is not certified organic, however, so the claims should be taken with a probably unnecessary but justified grain of salt. The drink was also fairly sweet, although I had a difficult time deciding if it was too sweet or not, so I suppose that by default it was not. 

Fruit 66 was not necessarily bad. I just did not like it. Perhaps their orange flavor is not as good as the others and trying a different flavor first would have left a better first impression, but at almost $1.50 per unit, I don't know that I will be motivated to try it again. It has no qualities of a bad beverage, but it is lacking in many of the qualities of a good one, as well.

There is one more point to be made, however. On the can, they make a point of making you aware that a portion of the proceeds from each Fruit 66 beverage is donated to the School Nutritional Foundation to help improve children's health and nutrition in the American public school system. This is a cause that I can readily advocate, as I believe that the chemical-filled, sugary snacks and beverages that are being marketed to children these days are, frankly, an atrocity. Sugar (primarily because the food and beverage industry cram everything full of it) is one of the leading causes of American obesity, and, although I am guilty of the occasional over-indulgence, I think that we need to collectively cut back on both sugar content and serving size. As someone who, in his spare beverage time, drinks mostly unsweetened or organic beverages, I can definitely support a push for healthier drinks in America's public schools that don't sacrafice taste. Unfortunately, I don't think that Fruit 66 is the place to start, but it's definitely not the worst option.

Verdict: Worth a try

Purchased: Bi-Lo [Columbia, SC]
Size: 8 fl. oz. [237 mL]
Price: $1.19 [Discounted]

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