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Great Value Fruit Punch Drink Mix Sticks (Walmart)

We don’t need to go into a long preface with this one: long story short, wife and I were on vacation with her family, we went to the beach for a week, and did all of our shopping at Walmart. That left me with plenty of chances to try products that I wouldn’t normally try, from a store that we don’t normally go to, for reasons that we have covered in other blog posts. So, without further ado, let’s jump in, shall we?

We’ve already tried a couple other varieties of Walmart’s Great Value drink mix sticks, and to mixed reviews; let’s see how their fruit punch – a flavor that I’m pretty well accustomed to because it happens to be one of my favorites – fares, shall we?

It smells inviting, with a strong (albeit fakey) fruit punch scent that takes me back to the sugary drinks of my childhood. It really does have a strong Kool-Aid kind of vibe that might be off-putting to some, but it’s always been enticing to me, if only for the nostalgia factor. It even has a strong red hue to match when mixed with water – standard for this kind of drink, but another inviting sign that has me eager to dive right in.

The flavor starts off very familiar, and strongly akin to Aldi’s version. However, instead of finishing with a sweet hit to the tastebuds – like I was expecting and kind of hoping for – it backs off at the last second, delivering a “watered down” finish that, to me, is kind of disappointing (I feel like there’s a bad pun in there somewhere calling a drink that you literally add to water, “watered down”…or maybe it’s just irony?) It also leaves a weird aftertaste in the back of the throat. Now, that’s actually typical of sugar free drinks, and this version is no better or worse than others, but it’s still a shame that the worst part of the experience is the one that lingers the longest.

Walmart is known for their deals, and they don’t disappoint here, with a 10 pack box of these sticks retailing for just $1.19. That puts it in the upper echelon of private label drink mixes, with a price that rivals Aldi’s version. If the flavor was just a pinch better, we might be looking at one that also rivals Aldi’s version in flavor, but instead, it’s one that promises to keep up, but then seems to lose interest at the last moment.

Overall: 6.5/10. It’s a palatable fruit punch flavor that I would definitely grab again in a pinch, but not one that compares with my favorite fruit punch powders (Hawaiian Punch and Aldi’s Fit & Active version). The taste starts off very fruit punchy, but instead of finishing on a sweet note, it backs away at the last second, delivering a final note that feels kind of watered down. And it is this disappointing finish that lingers in the back of the throat via the typical “sugar free aftertaste” associated with such beverages. However, it’s a great deal, with a ten-pack box retailing for $1.19, and the taste is still strong enough to satisfy most “fruit punch” fans, especially those who might find other brands to be too sweet.

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