What is Drinkfinity?
Drinkfinity is a new brand of wellness drinks that promise to provide personalized beverage choices for today’s busy consumers. The company sells packs of pods through their website that are designed to fit on top of individual Drinkfinity water ‘vessels.’
This way, customers can “Peel, Pop and Shake” the pod’s contents to combine both liquid and dry ingredients into the water for a variety of flavor options.
If the idea behind Drinkfinity sounds familiar to you, that’s because it’s the newest installment in the rise of individualized beverage choices.
About the Rise of Individual, Portable Water Systems
Adage.com told us that Drinkfinity is a high-profile example of an increasingly common trend in the beverage industry: customizable, made at home drinks.
Companies like Kraft Foods have been experimenting with “liquid water enhancers” like Mio since 2011, and Coca-Cola followed suit with Dasani Drops in 2012. Likewise, the increasing popularity of carbonation machines like Soda Stream shows that customers appreciate gaining control over what they sip.
This trend extends to the wellness industry. PR News reports that the reusable bottle industry is expected to reach over 10 billion by 2024, providing evidence that customers are increasingly looking for alternatives to prepackaged drinks. In fact, Reuter’s shares PepsiCo’s soda profits aren’t keeping pace with their healthier options like baked chips and low-sugar juices.
How does Drinkfinity fit in? As a venture of PepsiCo, Drinkfinity is considered to be a brand developed ‘intrapreneurially’ within the parent company.
This means that Drinkfinity is acting similarly to an independent startup, though still supported by the Pepsi brand. While Drinkfinity pods were first released in 2014 in a Brazil test market, the product came to the United States in late February 2018.
Drinkfinity’s Vice President Hernan Marina states in the company’s press release that the product is designed to do more than hydrate, but to “connect the dots between wellness and versatility…to balance the needs of both people and the planet.”
As consumers increasingly look for ways to personalize their lives and make healthier diet choices, PepsiCo’s Drinkfinity seems poised to make a profit. But does the drink deliver on its promises to be healthy, environmentally friendly, and convenient? Let’s look at the facts.
How Does Drinkfinity Work?
The Drinkfinity website promises to provide you with “a new way to drink” with single-use pods and a reusable BPA-free 20-oz water bottle.
Each pod consists of dry and liquid ingredients that can be “popped” into the water bottle together by puncturing the duel chambers on the pod on the top of the bottle. A quick shake mixes everything together, providing an instant drink.
At the time of writing, Drinkfinity promises to donate $1 to Water.org for every U.S. purchase in 2018, totaling up to $100,000.
About the Drinkfinity Vessel
Drinkfinity pods are specially designed to work with the Drinkfinity vessel, a specialized water bottle that is sold separately. At the time of writing, this bottle is available for $20 on the company website.
The website states that the bottle is made from high-quality, impact resistant material that is BPA free and fully reusable and recyclable. This container includes a magnetized top to keep the cap in place, and it is top rack dishwasher safe.
The bottle’s distinctive feature is a custom-fitted piercer designed to pop and disperse Drinkfinity pods into the water, creating an almost instant beverage.
Is Drinkfinity Better for the Environment?
A significant selling point for the Drinkfinity brand is that their beverages are better for the planet than standard soft drinks. According to the product website, Drinkfinity pods contain up to 65% less plastic than single-use 20-ounce beverage bottles, making them more efficient to ship and store.
They also note that their vision is to create the pods with the smallest environmental footprint possible, which means that they are investing in technology that will make the them easier to recycle and allow them to be made from 100% post-consumer plastic.
At the time of writing, recycling is possible for the pods if customers are willing to ship them back. When you complete your purchase, you have the option to join the Loop recycle program. This allows you to mail up to 30 used pods at no charge to Loop Industries where they are broken down and reformed into FDA-approved PET plastic.
In the future, the company hopes to use this process to create new pods.
What Drinkfinity Flavors are Available?
At the time of writing, Drinkfinity pod flavors fall into four categories, which include:
- Charge: Enhanced with green coffee extract, these pods contain as much caffeine as a single cup of coffee.
- Flow: These pods contain vitamin C and E to keep you going strong.
- Renew: Designed to replenish electrolyte levels, these pods are best used after a workout.
- Chill: The botanical ingredients in these pods are designed to make them an excellent option for relaxing whenever you need it.
Within each mode are multiple varieties, including Elderflower, Coconut Water Watermelon, and Oatberry Flow. The brand website states that the pods are free of artificial sweeteners and flavors and that each flavor contains between 30-80 calories per 20 ounces.
Ingredients in Drinkfinity
Drinkfinity’s website lists a number of ingredients used in different flavors of their pods, including:
acai fruit extract, spirulina, chamomile extract, chia seeds, concentrated coconut water, ginger root extract, Panax ginseng root extract, green bean coffee extract, guarana seed extract, concentrated lemon juice, lemon balm leaf extract, concentrated orange juice, passionflower extract, lemongrass extract, dried spinach, and whole oat flour.
Each flavor also contains a variety of other ingredients. For example, Watermelon Coconut contains:
Water, Organic Cane Sugar, Coconut Water Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Monopotassium Phosphate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Maltodextrin, Black Carrot Juice Concentrate (color), Hibiscus Juice Concentrate (color).
Oatberry Flow contains:
Water, Maltodextrin (fibersol ®-2), Concentrated Pear Juice, Whole Oat Flour, Organic Cane Sugar, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Concentrated Black Carrot Juice (color), Purified Stevia Leaf Extract, Concentrated Hibiscus Juice (color), Enzyme.
Are Drinkfinity Ingredients Healthy?
There’s a lot to unpack in Drinkfinity’s ingredients, so let’s start at the beginning.
The company website lists a number of nutrient-filled fruits in their flavors such as acai berries, guarana seed, orange juice, and many others. While this sounds healthy, the website doesn’t list the amount of these ingredients in each pod.
Will you still get nutrition from these pod-formulated ingredients? The Mayo Clinic tells us that eating fruit fresh is significantly better than consuming it in concentrated juice form, as the healthy fiber is otherwise lost. Fiber is what fills you up and slows down how quickly you metabolize sugar, leaving you feeling fuller longer without a sugar crash.
Speaking of sugar, the sweet stuff is listed as a top-three ingredient for the majority of Drinkfinity flavors. From our research, the drinks ranged from about 6 to 18 grams of sugar per 20-ounce serving, roughly half of which is added sugar. (In contrast, a 20-ounce Pepsi contains 69 grams).
Despite containing between a tenth to a quarter of the amount of sugar in many sodas, this level still might be bad news for your health. The American Heart Association recommends that adults consume just 25-36 grams of added sugar per day, and avoiding sugar in liquid form because it leads to empty calories.
Some Drinkfinity drinks are also sweetened with Stevia, which Livestrong notes is a plant-derived, zero-calorie sweetener which is 200 times sweeter than cane sugar. When it’s included on the ingredient’s list, it’s usually listed near the end, revealing that its levels are relatively insignificant compared to organic cane sugar.
Maltodextrin, another common ingredient, is considered by Healthline to be a white powder made from starchy crops like corn, rice, potatoes or wheat. This highly processed white powder is water-soluble and used to thicken dishes. The FDA classifies it as safe at levels found in most foods, though its carbohydrate content can cause your blood sugar levels to spike if you are sensitive to it.
The other ingredients like citric acid, black carrot juice concentrate, and monopotassium phosphate are predominately used as preservation agents, coloring sources, and filler ingredients. Our research didn’t identify any adverse effects from them.
From this information, is it possible to discern whether Drinkfinity drinks are healthy?
Our research shows us that these pods seem better for you than a standard soda, but it might be stretching things to consider them healthy. Most drinks still contain significant amounts of added sugars, and the concentrated ingredients aren’t nearly as beneficial as eating them fresh and whole.
When we contacted the company directly about the ingredients, they told us that they were listed in the products by weight. So with watermelon coconut, for instance, ginseng extract comes long after organic cane sugar (which is listed as the second ingredient).
That being said, switching from a soda habit to Drinkfinity will save you significant amounts of empty calories and added sugars, making it an improvement for your health.
How Much Does Drinkfinity Cost?
At the time of writing, Drinkfinity pods and the brand’s water bottle are only available on the company website. Over a dozen flavors are currently listed, and they retail for between $5.95- $6.50 for four pods. This comes to $1.50-$1.75 for a 20-ounce drink, which is reasonably comparable to most 20-ounce soft drinks.
It’s also possible to sign up for a subscription and save 10 percent on all purchases. With this service, you can select the frequency of your delivery from every two to eight weeks.
The product website also offers bundles of pods and the beverage vessel for between $20-90.
What are Some Similar Products to Drinkfinity?
As previously mentioned, Drinkfinity is entering a well-established personalized drinks market. On two ends of that spectrum is the Soda Stream carbonator and Dasani Drops. We chose to look at these two products to see how their offerings differ from Drinkfinity.
The Soda Stream is a personal soda maker that uses compressed carbon dioxide to carbonate water. Users can then drink the water as is or mix in a variety of flavors that range from root beer to wellness drinks with ginseng and coconut.
On Amazon, the Soda Stream retails for about $80, and flavor pricing varies significantly. Because it’s possible to mix in your own flavors (like fresh fruit juice), the Soda Stream offers more personalization than Drinkfinity.
However, the device lacks the convenience of a single pod, as the entire machine is needed to carbonate water.
Similar in its portability to Drinkfinity, Dasani Drops are advertised as an easy way to enhance water with flavor, electrolytes, and even caffeine without any calories. Unlike the pods, Dasani Drops last for more than one use (the company doesn’t recommend any standard amount per serving), and there aren’t any solid ingredients to blend in.
They also rely on artificial sweeteners like sucralose and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) to maintain their zero-calorie status.
While many reviewers complain that the drops have an artificial taste, others state that they are a convenient way to remember to drink more water. On Amazon, a pack of three containers retails for about $19, making them significantly more affordable per serving than Drinkfinity.
Understanding Customer Reviews of Drinkfinity
At the time of writing, Drinkfinity is new to the U.S. market and we weren’t able to find any individually published reviews of the product online.
The company’s U.S. Facebook page features a few reviews, though. Customers mentioned that they appreciated having an alternative to carbonated beverages that provided exciting flavors like elderberry and mango.
Customers gave mixed views about the sweetness of the product as well. Some stated that the flavors they tried were light and unsweet, while others thought that they weren’t a smart idea for those trying to avoid sugar since sugar is the second ingredient in many flavors.
The Brazilian Facebook page for Drinkfinity gives the product 3.8 stars out of five overall. Many reviewers complained that the pods didn’t disperse well into the vessel and that they left ingredients inside and wasted. Other frustrations included slow shipping time and limited customer support.
However, five-star reviewers raved about the flavor options, the non-overpowering taste, and the fact that the product was encouraging them to drink more water during the day. Many people mentioned frustration with the high price point per pod, though they acknowledged that buying a beverage from a vending machine would be more expensive.
What’s the takeaway for you? Customers who’ve tried Drinkfinity have mixed opinions on whether they like its sweetness and think it’s easy to use. There does seem to be consensus that they appreciate the wide variety of flavor options and think Drinkfinity pods are a viable substitute for standard soft drinks.
So, Who Should Try Drinkfinity?
You aren’t alone if the idea of Drinkfinity intrigues you. The PepsiCo company is marketing the product line heavily in anticipation that it will be a hit. But are Drinkfinity drinks actually healthy for you?
While we haven’t tried this product for ourselves, our inspection of the ingredients list revealed that Drinkfinity pods contain significant amounts of added sugars, which the American Heart Association recommends limiting. And, since we learned that ingredients are listed based on weight in the pods, it’s clear that added sugars are one of the top ingredients for almost every flavor.
Is Drinkfinity healthier for you than regular water? Probably not. However, is it better than most drink options like juice and soda? Our research says yes.
Alternatively, Drinkfinity might be a good substitute for drinking diet soda. WebMD tells us that drinking diet soda has been linked to numerous health conditions like dementia, strokes, type 2 diabetes and even weight gain. This means that some users might find Drinkfinity to be a viable substitute for diet soda as a healthy drink choice, though it contains more sugar than plain water.
If you’re looking for a convenient way to encourage yourself to stay hydrated, Drinkfinity pods seem to offer an innovative solution. Initial customer reviews are positive about the flavor options, and you’ll save some money (but not a lot) compared to the cost of standard 20-ounce drinks.
Please leave a review if you do try Drinkfinity. We’d love to hear your experience.