Saturday, July 26, 2008

Alvaro: non-alcoholic, but not natural either

Earlier this week, there was some controversy around Alvaro, the popular new malt-based non-alcoholic drink currently being test-marketed in Kenya by Diageo and East African Breweries Ltd (EABL) before going worldwide. A Kenyan MP alleged that the drink contained alcohol and was a major cause of students going on the rampage in secondary schools. But the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) was quick to ascertain that Alvaro doesn't contain any alcohol at all.

Alvaro is branding and marketing itself as "the non-alcoholic, natural alternative". Alvaro is targeted at adult consumers aged 24-35 years and comes in two flavours: pear and pineapple. Yes indeed, flavours. And that's where the problem lies, since there is nothing natural about flavours. I had a look at the ingredients, as stated on the bottle: Carbonated Water, Sugar, Malt Compound, Citric Acid, Pineapple Flavour, Phosphoric Acid, Tri Sodium Citrate, Coloured Malt Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Quillaja Extract. There is a major difference between Pineapple, Pineapple Juice or Pineapple Pulp on the one hand and Pineapple Flavour on the other hand. The former are originating from the pineapple fruit itself, while the latter is just another chemical. So there is nothing natural about Alvaro. Alvaro: unique, maybe - but natural, surely not.


bankelele said...

I'd say 1/2 the juices in Nairo that claim to be natural are concentrate based, but I'm sure Alvaro are more conecrned about the alcohol-tag

Rafiki said...

@ bankelele:

You are right, most juices are concentrate-based. But still, the concentrate originally comes from fruits (basically concentrate is fruit juice where most of the water has been removed from, concentrate is then reconstituted to "juice" by adding water).

But in the case of our "natural" Alvaro, we are not even talking about concentrate, but about flavour. A flavour is just a chemical product manufactured in a factory, and has nothing to do with fruits. So Alvaro should be concerned about its natural-tag as well.

savvy said...

Now am scared...all those many chemicals in alvaro, and there i was thinking its just like juice marketed by an alcoholic company

Rafiki said...

savvy: Don't worry too much, as long as you enjoy your drink, it will still be healthy in another way: it can give you emotional strength, it can re-charge you, etc.

Rafiki said...

Pretax profit at EABL rose 16 percent to 12.3 billion shillings ($178.8 million) for the year ended in June, boosted by the introduction of Alvaro, the company said today.

"We have had several successes with our range of brands. The introduction of Alvaro has brought unprecedented rewards," Gerald Mahinda Group Managing Director told investors.

Evita said...

Rafiki that is is excellent information you put together on this new drink.

Indeed education is the best empowerment on any topic and at least if people know what they are consuming, they can better make a decision.

It is just so sad what has happened to the word "natural" in today's world.

Anonymous said...

Wicki says Within the various uses of the word today, "nature" may refer to the general realm of various types of living plants and animals, and in some cases to the processes associated with inanimate objects–the way that particular types of things exist and change of their own accord, such as the weather and geology of the Earth, and the matter and energy of which all these things are composed. It is often taken to mean the "natural environment" or wilderness–wild animals, rocks, forest, beaches, and in general those things that have not been substantially altered by human intervention, or which persist despite human intervention. This more traditional concept of natural things which can still be found today implies a distinction between the natural and the artificial, with the latter being understood as that which has been brought into being by a human consciousness or a human mind.

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