Back a few months ago I wrote to you about a fairly new drink that came onto the market under the so called “natural health product” umbrella. If you recall, at the start of the year, the big beverage giant Nestea began producing a new line of drinks called “Vitao” which are marketed as natural and healthy alternatives to the typical beverages out there. Hence, I tried the Nestea Vitao Fuji Apple Green Tea.

Well it has been a few months since then and as I was in need of a new glass bottle for my water (for everyday use – remember the idea is to eliminate the plastics in your life as much as possible), I decided to go back to the Nestea Vitao and try another flavor. This time I chose the Acai Blueberry Red Tea.

A big plus for the Nestea Vitao is that it is made with no preservatives, artificial colors or artificial flavors. It is labeled as both a “Natural Health Product” and an enhanced ice tea. In my opinion, it has the potential to be a good health choice if you are out on the go and you want a healthier flavored drink, instead of soda pop, sports drinks or other heavily sweetened and artificial drinks. However, I would not go with this flavor or any of their drinks in the future for reasons explained below.

As much as I love blueberries in almost anything and everything, this particular flavor tasted way too watered down for me. This variety of the drink is like drinking watered down blueberry juice. I mean generally speaking it is fine, but in no way would I say it is delicious.

With the Nestea Vitao drinks, one also has to remember that they are enhanced with vitamins and minerals, which one does not want to overdose on – seriously. Hence this drink is for people aged 12 and up. Also due to the make up of the antioxidants and nutrients, there is a caution on the bottle to take a few hours before or after other medications. (So by all means don’t use this drink to wash down any medications you may be on.)

Now here is one last interesting aspect to this drink to show you how marketing works and why I would not buy their products again:

On the label it says: “Try Nestea Vitao for a mellow tea taste sweetened with exotic acai and natural blueberry flavors.” Sounds great doesn’t it. Now take a peek at the list of ingredients. Nowhere in the ingredients is the acai berry or blueberry mentioned, but what we can find is the typical “Sugar/Glucose-Fructose” combo, which for all we know is based on the same high fructose corn syrup that sweetens all other conventional drinks out there. One can only imagine and hope that the natural flavor listed, is somehow connected to those berries.

Do not ask me how they get away with this stuff… I tried to look for a number on the bottle to call them and there was none. Not only that I was shocked that there is still no nutritional information whatsoever on the bottle. But having done some research, I found out that since the product is labeled as a natural health product, the law does not require that the company list the nutritional info (at least in Canada).

On top of that if a carbohydrate is worth 4 calories, then this drink should be 100 calories. Well it isn’t, they claim it is 90 calories, but aside from that as rosy as it is painted and presented, all the calories in this drink come from sugar.

So although the premise for this drink seems to be good, I would not be supporting this drink or company again, as I just find this product is too falsified and definitely not beneficial to a healthy person’s diet.

Ingredients

Medicinal

  • 83mg Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  • 1.89mg AT Vitamin E (dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate)
  • 90mg Calcium (calcium lactate pentahydrate)

Non-medicinal

  • Filtered water
  • Fruit juices from concentrate (pear, apple)
  • Sugar/Glucose-Fructose
  • Natural Flavor
  • Concentrated Natural Rooibos Tea (from the South African Red Bush)
  • Citric Acid

Nutritional Information

(per 341mL can)

  • 90 Calories
  • 25 g Carbohydrates (25 g Sugar)
  • 60 mg Sodium

Source CalorieCount from About.com

Packaging

The drink comes in 473mL glass bottles that can be easily recycled or reused as I do. This drink can also come in plastic bottles too, presumably #1 (mostly in Europe) and cans. These are still easy to recycle, but I would recommend limiting their use for health reasons as it is plastic and the can is made with aluminum. You can read more on Knowing your plastics in a previous article I wrote. The packaging is different for the Canadian versus the European bottles.

Price (as of this posting)

  • Around $2 CDN per 473ml bottle

Availability

  • In Canada and the US in some local supermarkets, grocery stores or variety stores
  • Widely available in most of Northern Europe in local grocery stores/supermarkets

The Good

  • No artificial colors
  • No artificial preservatives
  • No artificial flavors
  • No caffeine
  • Ingredients found on product label
  • Fortified with antioxidants and calcium

The Bad

  • It is sweetened with the typical sugar/glucose-fructose combo
  • All the calories come from sugar
  • No acai berry actually was used to make this product
  • Watered down and somewhat too sweet of a taste
  • No nutritional information on product
  • Not widely available