Take Your Pick: Root Beer

When making the switching to an organic lifestyle, one of the biggest fears I had was purchasing an organic product at a higher price and then not liking the product. An unsure feeling comes over me when I pick up an item and think, “What if no one likes this and it goes to waste? I can’t afford to throw it away.” I’ve been in both camps, having found products we love and having had to dump money down the drain. Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s just trial and error.

One of the best ways to try out a product you are interested in is to email the company directly. Tell them you really would like to try their products and ask if they can send you coupons or a free sample. Many companies will jump at the chance to gain a new customer.

To help alleviate some of your organic food anxiety, I will start doing product comparisons on some of the items we love and hate. Living an organic lifestyle shouldn’t be a sacrifice to you or your family. There are so many good foods available. The trick is finding something that works for you.


Hansen's (left) v/s Store Brand (right)

Let’s face it, adults are more adaptable than children when making any sort of change. I can deal with pure cane sugar over refined sugar; it’s a small adjustment. But for children? They would rather see the world end before giving up their beloved favorites. Even though he would still choose Mountain Dew any day of the week, I am impressed at how open minded our 11 year old son has been with the changes we have been making. All of his life, soda has been more of a “treat” than an expected item. Yes, he has it at his grandparent’s house, occasionally at home or when eating out. Even then, he always chooses root beer or lemonade. Naturally, I couldn’t expect him to give up that root beer, so I knew I had to make a substitution…and it had to be a good one.

Aside from making it at home (which we are going to try, by the way), Hansen’s Natural Root Beer has been the best I’ve found. No, it’s not organic, but in looking at the product label, it seems to be a better choice.

Hansen’s Natural Root Beer v/s Store Brand Root Beer

Ingredients

  • Hansen’s: Pure tripled filtered carbonated water, sugar, caramel color, natural spices of wintergreen, birch, anise, sassafras, Tahitian vanilla extract, citric acid
  • Store Brand: Carbonated Water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sodium benzoate (a preservative), citric acid, gum arabic, natural and artificial flavors

Nutrition Label

  • Hansen’s: Calories – 160, Fat – 0, Sodium – 0, Carbs – 43 g, Sugars – 43 g, Protein – 0
  • Store Brand: Calories – 180, Fat – 0, Sodium – 35 mg, Carbs – 45 g, Sugars – 45 g, Protein – 0

Cost

  • Hansen’s: $.42 per can sale price
  • Store Brand: $.25 per can sale price

Taste

  • Hansen’s: Creamy, vanilla root beer flavor similar to the old root beer barrel candies, has a slight “diet” taste even though it’s not (I’m assuming we’ve forgotten what “real” sugar in products tastes like), carbonation is good
  • Store Brand: Typical root beer flavoring, not as “rich” of a flavor, carbonation is good

Since I recognize all of the Hansen’s ingredients, like the lower amounts on the nutrition label and my son loves the taste, I’m willing to pay the extra seventeen cents per can to get the “real stuff.”

Take your pick.

What’s YOUR choice?

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2 Responses to Take Your Pick: Root Beer
  1. Keri
    February 17, 2012 | 11:46 PM

    root beer has always been a favorite of mine! when we made the switch, i thought “oh no!” how am i going to go without it? well i did the same as you, just looked for a better choice. i went from drinking my long time favorite A&W, to Sioux City. it’s made with pure cane sugar, that’s what caught my eye. their cream soda is delicious also!

    • Toni
      February 18, 2012 | 1:44 PM

      I think I’ve seen the Sioux City root beer; I’m glad you are enjoying it! Hansens has been a staple in our groceries for a while now, but as of lately, my son has taken a liking to Virgils Root Beer (the same, made with cane sugar.) He’s also branching out to the Virgils cream soda and orange cream soda :) But, he’s quickly finding that a 6 pack is better than a 4 pack of bottles. haha I’ve also looked into making my own root beer. I think that would be a fun experiment to do as a family…but it seems I just haven’t found the time. Maybe soon!!

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