I recently decided to try a new drink by Nestea called Vitao Green Tea in the Fuji Apple flavor. My decision for this is not so much because I support buying beverages on the go, or because I support Nestle (Nestea) but because I use a glass bottle to carry around water or other juices every day.

I like the glass bottles these drinks come in, so I get a new glass bottle for sanitary reasons every few months. And this drink caught my eye as it had a label advertising it as “natural tea with antioxidants” and I have never seen it before.

This is an extremely new product on the market and so not yet widely available, but I do anticipate it will be in the upcoming months. FOODBEV did a small write up introducing the launch on February 26, 2008 which you can read here.

Nestea Vitao is made with no preservatives or artificial colors which is a great health bonus. The drinks are also fortified with antioxidants and even calcium. They are also labeled as “Natural Health Products“. After my analysis, it is a fair health choice if on the go and you want a healthier flavored drink, compared to soda pop, sports drinks or other heavily sweetened and artificial drinks.

This particular flavor is very pleasant and refreshing especially when cold. The taste is very light with a gentle hint of apple.

Ingredients

Medicinal

  • 55mg EGCG (concentrated natural green tea)
  • 83mg Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  • 1.89mg AT Vitamin E (dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate)
  • 90mg Calcium (calcium lactate pentahydrate)

Non-medicinal

  • Filtered water
  • Apple juice from concentrate
  • Sugar/Glucose-Fructose
  • Citric Acid
  • Natural Flavor

Nutritional Information (per can)

  • 90 Calories
  • 24 g Carbohydrates (24 g Sugar)
  • 60 mg Sodium

Source CalorieCount from About.com

Packaging

The drink comes in a glass bottle that can be easily recycled or reused as I do. After researching this drink online some more, I also discovered that it can come in plastic bottles too, presumably #1 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 $1.80 CDN per 473ml bottle

Availability

  • In Canada in local supermarkets, grocery stores and variety stores
  • In the Baltic States in Europe in local grocery stores/supermarkets

The Good

  • Excellent Light Taste
  • Very Refreshing Drink
  • Not overly sweet
  • No artificial colors
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Ingredients found on product label
  • Fortified with antioxidants and calcium
  • Fair price
  • Nice packaging

The Bad

  • It is sweetened with typical sugar/glucose-fructose
  • Contains caffeine
  • Leaves a tiny bitter aftertaste (normal I guess since it is mainly green tea)
  • No nutritional information on glass packaged bottles
  • Not yet widely available

UPDATES

March 7, 2009 – Since having written this article, Nestea Vitao drinks have seemed to pick up quickly in popularity and are thus bought by many people today, especially all over North America. Their promotion as a natural product makes them seem like the right choice, however there is so much more to this than meets the eye.

I therefore wanted to share with you 2 ways that my personal health has evolved and hence changes the stance of this product somewhat, since originally writing this. First and foremost I no longer drink any kind of juice, only water. And hence do not support or promote products with added sugar in them whatsoever. It is just plain and simple NOT healthy.

Secondly, while this drink is a MUCH better choice on the market today than many others, it is in no way natural or should it be considered a real, whole food choice. The product is processed and we cannot deny that, no matter how we try to argue it.

Hence, I highly do not recommend this product to anyone who is serious about “real” natural and optimal health.