Crystal Light's Sweetener Schizophrenia
Why have Splenda in some products, aspartame in others?
I have been so thrilled to see the reemergence of Splenda showing up in a lot of products this year that used to contain aspartame in them. From Smuckers jelly to Mt. Olive pickles, it looks like the food manufacturers are FINALLY listening to the concerns of low-carbers and others who don't want aspartame in their diet at all anymore. Yet, it's almost impossible to avoid it nowadays.
For example, last night my throat started feeling a little sore and dry, so I knew a cold was coming on. I bought some sugar-free Robitussen when it was on sale a few months ago and didn't read the labels. Guess what the #1 ingredient in it is? It's ASPARTAME! UGH! Oh well, this is the only exception I'll make to my aspartame-free diet plan because I want to feel better from my cold and Robitussen usually does the trick.
While the move from Nutrasweet to Splenda has been slow, it is happening. But have you seen what Kraft Foods is doing with their Crystal Light products? One of my readers wrote to me so excited about discovering that Crystal Light now has a Splenda/acesulfame potassium (ACE-K) blend to sweeten their products and proudly displays the Splenda logo on their packaging. I was not aware of this, so I did a little investigating today and found something rather odd.
It is true that the ready-to-drink Crystal Light products do have Splenda and ACE-K in them, but the powdered versions of Crystal Light still contains aspartame. HUH?! What's up with that? If you are going to use Splenda in the ones that are already mixed, then why not use Splenda in the ones you mix yourself, hmm?
For the record, here are the ingredients in the ready-to-drink raspberry ice flavor of Crystal Light:
Ingredients: WATER, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CITRIC ACID, MALIC ACID, SUCRALOSE AND ACESULFAME POTASSIUM (SWEETENERS), RED 40, SODIUM BENZOATE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, AND CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (PRESERVATIVES).
Now, here's that same flavor in the powder mix version:
Ingredients: MALTODEXTRIN (FROM CORN), CITRIC AND MALIC ACIDS (PROVIDES TARTNESS), RASPBERRY JUICE SOLIDS, ASPARTAME (SWEETENER), RED 40, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE (PREVENTS CAKING), ACESULFAME POTASSIUM (SWEETENER), BLUE 1.
Nevermind the fact that the powder mix has the corn-based maltodextrin in it (see, Michael Pollan was right about corn being in EVERYTHING!), there is a bunch of aspartame in this stuff. I don't know about you, but I don't want all of that in my body because it can bring on headaches and stall your weight loss. BAD NEWS INDEED!
According to the Crystal Light page at KraftFoods.com, the aspartame powder mix has a short storage life once it is prepared by the consumer since it has to remain refrigerated to prevent spoilage.
"For freshest taste, beverages containing Aspartame sweetener should always be consumed within 5 days of preparing."
Ah, so therein lies the problem with putting aspartame in the ready-to-drink versions of Crystal Light. It won't last very long before going bad. That's why sucralose (Splenda) is used instead because the shelf life is longer without compromising the taste and quality of the end product.
So my question is this: Why not put Splenda in ALL of the Crystal Light products? What is the purpose of having aspartame as the sweetener in the powder mix and Splenda as the sweetener in the ready-to-drink products? It looks like we have a case of sweetener schizophrenia going on here, Kraft!
If you want to endear yourself to the discriminating sugar-free consumer who prefers to avoid aspartame in favor of Splenda, then why not change your sweetener to Splenda across the board? Doesn't that just make good business sense anyway without confusing your customer base? Consistency and honesty go a long way towards building a good rapport with customers, especially those who are concerned about their health.
My reader who saw the Splenda logo on a ready-to-drink Crystal Light product automatically assumed that Splenda was now in all of the Crystal Light products now. How many people like him will be surprised to see aspartame STILL in the powder mix? That can't be good for public relations, would it Kraft?
Let me tell you, for fans of juice Crystal Light is the bomb! These ready-to-drink products come in lemonade, raspberry ice, lemon tea, strawberry kiwi, peach iced tea, sunrise classic orange, and ruby red grapefruit. Just be aware that the Splenda is NOT in the powder mixes...yet! Perhaps they'll read this and hear from YOU and decide the time has come to take the plunge and go all-Splenda! We can hope, can't we?
Use this Contact Us page to provide Kraft with your feedback about putting Splenda in the Crystal Light powder mix, too. We might just convince them it's a good idea, so make your voice heard today! And let me know if you see Splenda pop up in any other products that used to contain Nutrasweet.