When is the last time you heard someone say, “Mountain Dew, with its unique brand of sludge, has been regarded as a health drink for the ages?” If you answered ‘never’, you would be correct. However, the executives at PepsiCo Inc. must think of their product as a ‘refreshing and good-for-you drink that is known by it’s greenish-yellow tint, denoting its ‘natural’ lemon and lime flavors.’ Forget the tooth decay from all the sugar contained in a just a mere few sips of the infamous drink. No. Mountain Dew has turned the corner.
Now the ‘nutritious’ drink company is charging into the morning energy drink market with their dew-licious flavored drink Kickstart. It’s a slightly (read…highly) caffeinated morning mix of anxiety, paranoia and shame. Oh…and it contains 5 percent juice and some Vitamin B and C. Take that orange juice! It will be sold in 16-ounce cans like other popular energy drinks, such as Red Bull.
I can feel my mouth watering with anticipation.
If this sounds like nothing you’d drink in the morning or any other time of day, congratulate yourself. However, PepsiCo is hoping to reach the section of the public who is eager to begin their day in one of the most unhealthy ways possible. Yes, according to ‘market research’ (read…no one) there are actually fans of the Dew who thought to themselves, “I need something other than coffee or tea to wake me up in the morning…how about a morning version of Mountain Dew?” The company says that this drink is not supposed to be considered an energy drink because it has less caffeine than drinks like Monster and RockStar. However, if you’re looking for something that says ‘burnout’ by 12pm, then Kickstart is clearly an option for you.
However disgusting this drinks sounds, the company might be onto something. There has been an upswing in popularity of drinks promoting energy, wellness, health, etc. With more popularity, though, comes more scrutiny. In the summer of last year, New York’s attorney general began a probe into the marketing prices of energy drink makers, PepsiCo included. Also, consumer advocacy groups have requested that the Food and Drug Administration investigate the safety of soaring caffeine levels in energy drinks, specifically regarding younger people.
To its credit, with the Kickstart drink PepsiCo has introduced a product that is *gasp* much better nutritionally than it’s competition. It much less caffeine than the average energy drink, with just 92 milligrams for a 16-ounce can. Again, this is for the ‘non-energy’ drink that is being marketed like…an energy drink. In comparison, PepsiCo’s Amp energy drink has a whooping 142 milligrams of caffeine, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Even though a 16-ounce cup of Starbucks coffee has 330 milligrams of caffeine, I’d still take that over the ‘healthy’ Mountain Dew morning drink Kickstart. There’s something about starting my day with that much wrong that I just can’t justify.