When life gives you vitamins…

…Apparently, you make lemonade. Hear me out.

A little while ago (well, a little more than “a little while ago”, but let’s pretend this is real-life-in-real-time, okay?), my wonderful girlfriend bought me a gift of the unusual kind. She knows of my love of slightly odd snacks and such, so when she saw the “Cherry 7-Up”, she knew I’d be intrigued. This combination alone piqued my interest, as I have some strange beliefs about cherry-flavouring and the good of the world. (I’ve always been strong in the opinion that cherry is the flavour of choice for medication as it’s significant and powerful on a quantum level. IT IS.) Then, whilst visually devouring the cans’ design and aesthetic, I noticed it was not “Cherry 7-Up”, but rather “Cherry 7-Up Antioxidant“. That was, and still is, the name – I kid you not. My long-held childhood beliefs of cherry not being added to make medicine platable, but rather as an intrinsic part of the health proposition, were being validated by this 330ml cylinder of tongue-tingling thirst-quencher!
Validation, it seems, comes in all forms. And some of those forms are recyclable.

Truth be told, as much as I want to parade around the streets doing the traditional “I told you so” march (it’s a condescending little piece often accompanied by fist-pumping, cheeriness in the face of everyday misery, and powered by the performers unshakable, but temporary, position as World Champion of The Truth), I instead found myself realising that this development shouldn’t be a surprise. In fact, the more I spent reflecting on the odd clash of soft drink and health, like some kind of tasty and beneficial venn diagram, I came to the conclusion that not only is there a long tradition of such combinations, but I can also take a fairly accurate stab at what’s coming soon.

Reflect with me. No, not literally.

Since the late 70’s, soft drink has flirted with fashion.

"Hey baby...how you livin'?"

“Hey baby…how’re YOU livin’?”

Even further back, it has flirted with accommodating changing tastes. Coca-Cola now has subtly different formulas for different tastes in different markets, on different worlds. I have witnessed this first hand when I purchased and imbibed a can of Turkish Coke in London. How it got there is anyone’s guess, and I’m now wondering whether it was authentic Coke, but REGARDLESS. LET ME STICK TO MY POINT.

I did a Google search for the Coca Cola formula, and THIS came back...

I did a Google search for the Coca Cola formula, and THIS came back…

Being a concoction of flavour, water, sugar and fizz, the nutritional value of soft drinks has always been a factor that the companies like to stop you thinking about. Some do it via clever advertising, others simply ignore your emails, your phone calls, your insistent tapping on their windows… But occasionally, just occasionally, they respond to demand and unveil a variant specially built for the health conscious – this first time round the element of distraction came in the sugar-free variety. You could now purchase your favourite drink without a care for your waistline, neat!

And thus these non-sugar junkies drank away into the wee hours…Where they soon realised that they were now in the wee hours, and unable to sleep for a moment. Forty winks? They’d have been appreciative for four. Things were dire for these skinny, ever-waking people. And so, like an attentive bartender from up on high, the companies responded, and removed almost magically, all of the caffeine from these concoctions. And the soft-drink slaves were happy once more!

But like with any substance that is depended on, a tolerance grows. This tolerance reduces the effectiveness, the system’s become so used to the regular dosage, that the need for the substance grows. The life-supporter no longer supports life. And once again, the slaves sent out their cries – they needed more! More power! More taste! More ENERGY! The wails from the masses spread through the land, heard amongst the din of crushed cans, the gushing of post-mix, the gnashing of unsated teeth (teeth can be sated – I read about it). Yet again…the chemists heard, and they replied.

ENERGY DRINKS.

You probably won't believe me, but this is a REAL energy drink brand.

You probably won’t believe me, but this is a REAL energy drink brand.

This was a radical step. Gone were the days of simply tweaking the existing formula. Gone were the thoughts of trying to preserve the followers through simple name association. This was a new beast – a new drink for a new thirst. The thirst for energy. This is all beginning to sound a bit like a plot for Transformers, but stick with me. The energy drinks were a completely new taste, but the taste was secondary, it was merely a delivery system for the raw…stuff that would soon fuel your form. The stuff came in many forms – some were natural, herbal extracts of power, others were chemical combinations with enough syllables to choke a Welshman. Regardless of the brand, or taste, these potions assured you that they would give you the buzz you needed – the buzz you’d soon crave.

This introduction was akin to legalising a drug, of some type. Probably one of those that is currently not so bad for you, but still frowned upon by the law. Maybe it’s smoked, maybe it’s swallowed. Maybe it’s painted on to the clean, soft skin behind your ear. I don’t actually know anything about drugs, but the point is that this was a mighty addition to the fridge, and whilst many became intimate with the range, others decided it was not for them, and that they were not so displeased with the sugar-free, caffeine-free, fruit-enhanced range. Actually, that new fruit one is nice. If only it had some caffeine.

Now with added French caffeine. Tres cool!

Now with added French caffeine. Tres cool!

NOW WITH ADDED CAFFEINE! They then call it “energized” or some such. And add another fruit flavour to the range – hell, maybe strawberry? Everyone loves strawberry stuff! That’s why it’s in neopolitan ice-cream, and flavoured milk, and those weird, pulpy shapes that appear on plants.

WHAT THE HELL ARE THESE?!

WHAT THE HELL ARE THESE?!

But the important point is thus – we just added caffeine back into the blend. The circle is complete – the juice-box is now the master. Our range of drinks is so expansive in its forms, its tastes, its flavours, adding health benefits was naturally the next step to be taken. Hell, even McDonalds is trying to take the healthy high road.

And now that the entire, bizarre road of tastes and types has been explored, I must reveal the final element – the evidence that I came up with initially that made me see the light. It was right in front of us the whole time – and now I will spell it out, so that the companies and the executives of energy drinks can see the light, and re-align their soft-drink strategies.

When life gives you lemons, you make Lemonade. That’s Lemon juice plus carbonation, sugar, and Vitamins A, D and E. Lemon-ADE: The soon-to-be healthy alternative to eating a diet of food.

Coca-Cola Amatil, Pepsico, Dr Pepper Snapple (though I doubt you’re a REAL doctor)…Call me. Let’s talk.

-n

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~ by nick on May 24, 2013.

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