5 min read
Classic Grape Deep Dive
Meet Classic Grape
We gave grape an upgrade. Made from real concord grape juice with a hint of lime to create the perfect blend of sweet and tart, our Classic Grape is the nostalgic soda flavor you know and love—all grown up.
Classic Grape Inspiration Story
There’s something extra special about Classic Grape… Our newest flavor came to fruition thanks to overwhelming requests from OLIPOP nation. So when we were developing the recipe, we knew that it had to stack up to the nostalgic flavor you were all longing for. But, of course, we still gave it our OLIPOP touch.
In addition to the usual OLIPOP benefit of adding 9 grams of gut health-supporting fiber to each can, there was one thing we wanted to be extra mindful of with this flavor — Since Grape Soda is traditionally one of the most unhealthy sodas you can drink, it was important to us that we delivered a recipe as delicious as it was good for you, which is why our Classic Grape contains 4 grams of sugar and just 45 calories.
Traditional Grape Soda vs. Classic Grape
How is it that your average grape soda is so unhealthy? Here's a quick breakdown:
Unnamed Grape Soda #1:
Made with artificial sweetening agents, high fructose corn syrup, chemical additives, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, artificial colorings, red 40, and blue 1, this soda is lacking any health-supporting ingredients. While it is on the lower end of calories out of the countless grape soda options at 170 calories, it still has 44 grams of sugar— that’s the equivalent of 10½ teaspoons!
Unnamed Grape Soda #2:
Like soda #1, this brand’s soda also has zero health benefits as it's made with the same ingredients as the latter but with two additional natural and artificial flavors. It also contains the same 170 calories per can and 44 grams of sugar.
If you're wondering, 44 grams of sugar is a lot of sugar to consume in one drink. In fact, the CDC advises that adults keep added sugars to no more than 10% of total daily calories; for a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s 50 grams of added sugar per day. That means drinking a single 12-ounce can of grape soda satisfies 88% of the recommended daily sugar limit; and remember, that 50-gram number is just a limit— not a recommendation.
At the same time, the American Heart Association recommends a maximum of just 25.1 grams of added sugar a day for women and 37.7 grams for men. In just one can, both sodas above provide more added sugar than what the CDC and AMA advise should be consumed in a day.
The unhealthy ingredients and high sugar content is a problem on multiple levels: the obvious being the effects of consuming that much sugar in a single drink. As a category, sugary beverages, like soda, are the most significant contributor of calories and added sugar in the U.S. diet. The Centers for Disease Control identifies soda consumption as linked with a lengthy list of health problems, including type 2 diabetes, gout, asthma, and heart, kidney, and fatty liver disease.
While sugar naturally occurs in all foods composed of carbohydrates, like fruits (even grapes!), vegetables, grains, and dairy, these naturally occurring sugars are not a concern. These sugars come with other health benefits, such as fiber, antioxidants, and minerals that come alongside them in whole foods. And considering your natural sources of sugar also contain some fat, fiber, or protein, your body digests these natural and whole foods gradually, and the sugar in them provides an ongoing supply of energy to your cells. The sugar in soda, on the other hand, is added sugar. When consumed in the high amounts found in soda, our internal organs can be overwhelmed by this concentrated source of sugar, sending our pancreas and liver into overdrive. Any excess sugar your body doesn’t use for energy can be converted into fat.
Traditional Grape Soda and Food Deserts
While the unhealthy ingredients and high sugar content are a problem in sodas like traditional grape soda because of their potential health effects, they are also an issue because of those most likely to consume the drinks regularly: lower-income neighborhoods. Known as a food desert, the United States has many regions where people have limited access to healthful and affordable food. A food desert occurs for various reasons, such as having a low income or having to travel farther to find healthy food options.
According to the USDA, neighborhoods with low-income minority ethnic groups are the most affected by food deserts. These neighborhoods have insufficient access to supermarkets compared with predominantly wealthier white neighborhoods. And even when convenience stores do have healthy foods available, they are frequently too expensive for those who earn low-income people to afford. Therefore, people in food deserts often rely on fast food and food retailers who offer affordable yet limited food options.
Research suggests this lack of healthy foods and easy access to unhealthy foods may be correlated with inadequate diets high in sugar, sodium, and unhealthy fats. Food deserts are associated with a higher incidence of obesity, increased prevalence of diabetes, and other weight-related conditions, which predominantly affect children.
Classic Grape and Co-Ops
Therefore, when we created Classic Grape, we realized making a traditionally unhealthy and sugary drink healthier was not enough. That's why we partnered with inspiring co-ops in our backyard to highlight how when we bunch together like grapes, we strengthen and nourish the community. Located in our Oakland hometown, we partnered with Mandela’s and The DEEP, two co-ops dedicated to nourishing and supporting neighborhoods with healthy food, wellness resources, and collective ownership, prioritizing the wellbeing of BIPOC. At the same time, the DEEP is a worker-owned grocery cooperative dedicated to restoring East Oakland’s community with fresh organic produce, community education, and cooperative economics, prioritizing the wellbeing of Black and Brown people.
Additionally, 10% of sales of Classic Grape during launch will go to these co-ops. As strong supporters of co-ops, we love that every time you support your local coop, you make a difference in the future of food and our communities.
- “Sugary Drinks,” The Nutrition Source, September 4, 2013, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/sugary-drinks/.
- Vani Hari, Feeding You Lies: How to Unravel the Food Industry’s Playbook and Reclaim Your Health (Hay House Inc, 2019).
- Harvard Health Publishing, “The Sweet Danger of Sugar,” Harvard Health, accessed May 8, 2021, https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/the-sweet-danger-of-sugar.
- Malik VS, Hu FB. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Cardiometabolic health: An Update of the Evidence Nutrients 2019; 11(8): 1840.
- Farrigan, P. D., Michele Ver Ploeg, and Tracey. (n.d.). Characteristics and influential factors of food deserts.
- Our Classic Grape contains 4 grams of sugar and just 45 calories.
- Grape Soda is traditionally one of the most unhealthy sodas you can drink.
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