I think I’ve mentioned this before, but has anyone noticed how gross Dollar General stores are? Hey, I’m not passing judgment on anyone that shops there, because clearly I do, too. The stores just feel drab and depressing, and the clientele…okay, I guess I am passing judgment. It often feels like shopping in a mini-Walmart. (The only difference: Somehow the associates are almost always really friendly, despite making minimum wage.)
It’s far from my favorite place, but there’s one on virtually every street corner; if that’s not the very definition of “convenient” then I don’t know what is. And if you’re anything like us, then you constantly remember things you need after leaving the place where you just went to get that thing that you just remembered you needed.
But since shopping there, it has opened up yet another world of private label products. They actually have over two dozen different brands, which is hopping on Aldi’s bandwagon of offering a different label for every department in the store. I’ve tried DG’s Clover Valley food brand, and a couple beverages from their “Good & Smart” brand; now we turn our attention to DG Health and their pediatric electrolyte beverage.
This has a very artificial berry flavor, which is pretty much to be expected. None of the electrolyte beverages have any actual juice, which means the flavoring pretty much all comes down to chemicals. And there’s apparently only so much you can do with chemicals, because a lot of these drinks taste the same. Think of this as a blue raspberry, but not quite as sweet. There’s also that trademark “saltiness”in the flavor that’s a staple of electrolyte beverages. The experience of drinking it is like taking care of your five-year-old nephew: It’s endearing at first, but becomes more and more annoying the longer you’re stuck with it. In small quantities, it’s doable. The problem is, this is a beverage that’s “meant” to be downed in larger quantities, in order to eliminate dehydration.
It always cracks me up when brands offer multiple “tiers” of a product that all do the same thing. It’s all marketing speak; keywords and false excitement created to sell products. For example, the name brand company (think a word combination of “pediatric” and “electrolyte”) offers an “AdvancedCare” line in addition to their classic line. These drinks add “Preactiv prebiotics”, which means nothing to virtually everyone. But then, on top of that, they offer an “AdvancedCare Plus” line, which includes everything from the classic and “AdvancedCare” lines, but also adds 33% more electrolytes on top of it.
Let’s be real here: Is anyone actually going to notice 33% more electrolytes? Hell, does anyone even notice electrolytes at all? What about prebiotics? Who’s ever had the “classic” version of this drink, and thought: “Man, I’m still dehydrated. If only this had prebiotics, as well as an additional amount of electrolytes, then I’d feel much more refreshed”? It’s so stupid that it approaches lunacy. And, of course, it comes in at $1 more than their “classic” drink, which is apparently an inferior product. By this logic, I’m waiting for an “AdvancedCare Deluxe” line to come along that offers “mega-advanced electrolytes for maximum body absorption”, or whatever other bullshit they can come up with.
Value appeared solid, except that I was lied to. According to the shelf label, it looked like the “classic” flavors of DG Health’s electrolyte drinks were $3.95, with the “Advantage Care Plus” options going for just 5 cents more. In reality, the upgraded version is $4.75 – $.75 more than what I was expecting to pay. It’s not a dealbreaker – it’s still over a dollar less than the equivalent name brand, and it’s also not the product’s fault – but it’s annoying nonetheless. (And it’s apparently such a widespread issue that the company is being sued for charging more at the register than the price on the label. Shady.)
Next time, I’ll gladly sacrifice the added vitamins and get the “base” version of DG Health’s pediatric electrolyte drink. I would also get a much different flavor. But I suppose this does what a private label knockoff is supposed to do: Provide a similar experience to the name brand, for a cheaper price. And with the package touting prebiotics and additional electrolytes, I can only assume this does just that.
Overall: 5.5/10. It tastes pretty decent in small quantities, and has that “salty” aftertaste that lets you know you’re drinking a pediatric electrolyte product. There’s the whole aspect of this being a completely unnecessary product – it adds electrolytes and “prebiotics” as if anyone asked for them – but hey, it’s good marketing, I guess. The thing that leaves me salty (pun intended) has nothing to do with the product itself: It was mislabeled on a shelf, which cost me $.75 more than I was expecting. But hey, isn’t that just part of the Dollar General experience?