I knew that it was only a matter of time before a rip-off of Kraft's MiO Liquid Water Enhancer was released into the market, and I am not particularly surprised that Wal-Mart is officially the first culprit. Store brand items are a fairly routine sight in our modern superstores, and, to be fair, Kraft was not the first company ever to release a liquid water enhancer. However, the store brand items found in today's stores are usually just generic versions of already generic and "non-ownable" products. No one company can own rice, for example, and it is perfectly legitimate for a grocery store to offer their own inexpensive variety of rice. However, something as specific as Kraft's MiO seems like it should be pretty far out of the purview of the generic repackaging machine. It seems inappropriate to copy such a distinct product, but apparently it is a task that is not beyond the reach of Wal-Mart's grasping claws.
There's no point in skirting the issue for the sake of objectivity here: Great Value's liquid water enhancer is one of the most blatant rip-offs that I've seen in a while. For all practical purposes, everything about this product is exactly the same as the original counterpart. Aside from some obvious minor differences in the shape and color of the bottle and the graphic on the label, everything is pretty much identical, even down to the ingredients and the number of servings per bottle. Even some of the flavors are the same, with Great Value even going as far as to offer two "energy" versions of the enhancer, as well as a vitamin-enhanced orange flavor. Honestly, it's just shameless, and I really want to dislike this product out of principal. But I can't, for one very good reason.
As much as I don't want to admit it, Great Value's grape flavored water enhancer is excellent. In fact, I would even risk saying that I like it better than most of the MiO flavors, aside from perhaps orange tangerine. I'm not entirely sure why I like Great Value's grape flavor so much, as it tastes like that artificial, candy-grape flavor that I usually don't like very much in beverages. But there's just something right about it. Great Value really nailed the formula. I also think that it might have something to do with the fact that I generally tend to enjoy singular artificial flavors as opposed to a mixture of various flavorings. I feel that as the complexity of an artificial taste increases, so does its apparent artificiality. In other words, individual artificial flavors just tend to not taste as artificial to me, somehow.
So, like I said above, I don't want to offer my support of a product that is such an obvious abuse of reverse-engineering, but I can't deny that the grape flavor is pretty great. However, I still think that MiO is, on the whole, a better beverage. MiO's bottle is a lot more sturdy, and the lid closes much more securely, making it a safer choice if you intend to carry your enhancer around with you. Also, the variety of flavors offered by Kraft is better on average than Great Value's range (I've also tried Great Value's orange flavor, and it's not very good), and I feel like it's harder to go wrong when picking a MiO flavor. But still, as much as I hate to say it, give the grape a try.
Verdict: Worth a try
Purchased: Wal-Mart [Greenwood, SC]
Size: 1.62 fl. oz. [48mL, 24 servings per bottle]