Category: General Blogs
Moderation is a commonly used term in the alcoholic beverage industry, but maybe it should be applied to the beverage industry as a whole.
I think so much of the news coverage of the beverage industry today is bursting with extreme language. “This or that is bad for you, cut it out of your diet completely!” “This is great for you, drink nothing but this; replace everything you drink with it!”
Come on now. What ever happened to what we used to call the ‘Happy Medium’? Have a little of this, a little of that. It won’t kill you.
I was recently interviewing Matt McLean, the CEO and founder of Uncle Matt’s Organic juice, and the conversation quickly turned to all the negative publicity the juice category had been receiving lately from the press. Those of you who have been following the category already know that in the eyes of some people, a glass of orange juice is no different than any drink high in sugar. “Sugar = bad,” these folks say, and therefore anything that contains it should be avoided like the plague.
I think it’s time we moved passed such all-or-nothing declarations. The science just doesn’t support it, for one thing. In fact, current science is beginning to observe that medicine is not the exact science we’d all love it to be. The latest research shows that different people, depending on their ancestry (basically their genealogies) are much better at tolerating and digesting certain types of foods and beverages than others. And what’s more, they have even developed immunities that those from other gene pools have not. In other words, certain ingredients, yes, including sugar, may be perfectly harmless for whole swaths of the population.
In our conversation, McLean pointed out that his brand’s core product, orange juice, yes, has natural sugar, but it is also a “nutrient dense” beverage. “It is not a sugary soda so it breaks down in the body differently,” he told me. “And when eaten with a meal it helps the uptake of those nutrients even better.”
It got me thinking that, like we recently got it wrong with fats (remember “all fats=bad”?), are we now doing the same thing with sugar? Is the media painting sugar with such a broad brush that we are depriving ourselves of all the nutrition, and pleasure, that comes from downing a cold, refreshing glass of orange juice?
I recently read a story in The NY Times about how sales of digital books have suddenly stalled, while print book sales have started rising again. What does this have to do with beverages, you might ask? Well, print had been written off—pardon the pun—a while ago. But not so fast! It appears some people like to sometimes read a digital book, but they also sometimes like to read on paper. The same may go for any beverage category that may be challenged today—orange juice, macro beers, macro sodas, you name it. Don’t believe the negative hype. There’s probably a happy medium in there somewhere.