I gave a talk last week at Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska.
Before I left, Michael Moss, who wrote the New York Times investigative report about Hasting’s USDA animal research facility, mentioned the Kool-Aid museum.
The Kool-Aid museum?
A Hastings resident, Edwin Perkins, invented this product in 1927.
Kool-Aid, in case this isn’t on your usual shopping list, is a flavored and colored powder that comes in small packets. You add the 4.6 gram contents—plus one full cup of sugar—to two quarts of water.
What’s in the packets? I was given a cherry limeade flavor: contains citric acid, maltodextrin, calcium phosphate, vitamin C, natural and artificial flavor, salt, artificial color, red 40, tocopherol [a form of vitamin E], BHA, and BHT (preservatives).
The less said about nutritional value, the better.
But take a look at its corporate history:
- 1953 General Foods buys Kool-Aid
- 1985 Philip Morris buys General Foods and, therefore, Kool-Aid
- 1988 Philip Morris buys Kraft
- 1989 Philip Morris combines Kraft and General Foods to create Kraft General Foods (Kool-Aid is now owned by a cigarette company)
- 1995 Philip Morris names the combined entity Kraft Foods
- 2003 Philip Morris changes its name to Altria (Kool-Aid is still owned by a cigarette company)
- 2007 Philip Morris splits Kraft—and, therefore, Kool-Aid—off as a separate company
- 2012 Kraft splits into two companies, Kraft Foods Group (with Kool-Aid) and Mondelez International
- 2012 Kraft Foods Group cuts a deal with SodaStream International to use Kool-Aid with SodaStream devices
I loved the exhibit, even though you have to go through rooms full of guns to get to it.
The exhibit didn’t mention the Jonestown massacre, the source of the phrase “drinking the Kool-Aid” because Kool-Aid was not involved.