In many homes across the country, children will prepare their own popsicles using Kool-Aid brand drink products. As a cool refreshing drink, children, in fact, have been enjoying Kool-Aid for decades. As you help your children prepare their next batch of Kool-Aid frozen popsicles, take some time to appreciate the history on which Kool-Aid products were built.
With origins dating back to the late 1920s, a pioneer in mail order businesses, E.E. Perkins, found that one of his most popular mail order products was a concentrated liquid syrup known as “Fruit Smack”. For consumers who purchased this product from his company, the shipment of the fruity syrup was often complicated due to the glass bottle packaging. As a result, Perkins developed the first Kool-Aid product when he removed the water from the product and packaged the remaining powder into a paper pouch. It was from this process that Kool-Aid was developed.
From its humble beginnings in the late 1920’s, Perkins moved to sell his company, Perkins Products, along with the Kool-Aid brand, to General Foods in 1953, just prior to his death. Upon completion of the sale, General Foods took the Kool-Aid brand and placed it into the hands of advertising executives at Foote, Cone & Belding. Form this placement, the creation of the big, round pitcher was created.
Today, Kool-Aid products are relatively no different than that of the early 1920’s edition. Comprised, primarily, of water and sugar, Kool-Aid provides for a cool, refreshing drink at a relatively low cost. What was once extremely popular during the Great Depression, has continued in popularity today with many children creating their own Kool-Aid popsicles at home, as a summertime fun activity.
While Kool-Aid offers relatively no nutritional value, many parents continue to allow use of the product in the home as an alternative to sugary carbonated sodas. With nutritional value at no more than 25 percent of the recommended level of vitamin C, parents can, at least, feel confident their children are not consuming high levels of fat or sodium.
So, this summer, as you consider activities for your children, consider making home made Kool-Aid popsicles, or even develop your own Kool-Aid stand. Whatever the activity, share the history and store of the Kool-Aid product, as once a concentrated syrup sold as a mail order product, and know that the product your children enjoy today is not much different from the product developed in the small mail order business in the late 1920s.