Essence-C Vitamin C Powder Blend (Aldi)

Box packaging for Essence-C Vitamin C Powder Blend
Why does this packaging look like it was designed in the '70s?

I know the FDA won’t admit it one way or the other, but I happen to feel like the national brand “vitamin C” powder really does help the body in times of need; maybe it’s just a placebo effect, but there have been at least a couple situations where I was certain I was going to get a bad cold, or other sickness, only to have it virtually disappear within 24 hours. I’m definitely not saying it’s a cure-all for everything, nor would I take it daily as a vitamin supplement (which I think is supposed to be its main use), but for the occasional body boost, I swear it works, at least to some extent.

That being said, the national brand is expensive as hell, with most private label pharmacy brands just as high. That’s why I jumped at the chance to try Aldi’s take on it, which goes under the absolutely embarrassing moniker “Essence C”. Why? Why even have that terrible name? Why even add the unnecessary “C” at the end, which not only doesn’t match with the word before it, but makes it sound redundant? And, why such godawful packaging? It looks kinda like a throwback to vintage products from the ‘70s, but also like the designer didn’t give a shit—as much as I wanted to try it, I did hesitate a little bit just based on how…gross it looks. (And I would venture to guess I'm not the only one.)

Also a cause for relative concern was the price: I mean, sure the name brand is $2 more, but $7.79 (for the same 30-count packets as the name brand) is still a rather large upfront chunk of change to shell out…I was honestly expecting the Aldi brand to vastly undercut the “name brand” by a lot more than 25%, but hey! Savings are savings, and you won’t find the national brand (or even most store brands) for this price anywhere else, so I took the plunge.

Now, how in the hell do I review a product like this? Something that honestly serves no real provable purpose? I can’t just measure the amount of vitamin C I have in my body before and after to see if it really adds more, nor can I really prove that it did or it didn’t make my sickness go away, or improve my health in any way, shape or form…

…all I can say is it is virtually a dead ringer for the national brand in terms of appearance and taste. As expected, each box contains 30 packets of orange powder, that can be added to a variety of different drinks to give you the boost you need. Here, I just stuck to water, and made the mistake of adding a packet to a 16.9 oz. bottle—not very smart, as the rather disgusting taste has now been spread out over a much greater surface than if I’d just chucked it into a small cup. However, it’s the same “disgusting taste” as the national brand, with an almost “wooden” flavor meeting notes of orange to deliver something that just doesn’t taste good, but that is medicinal enough to at least feel like it might be doing something to improve your health. I actually don’t find the taste that repulsive, but it’s certainly not good, with a slightly bitter finish that somewhat reminds me of beer (although it isn’t quite that off-putting).

Same with the scent, which doesn’t really offer up much in the way of “orange”, but does insinuate that what you’re about to drink isn’t really going to go down all that easy.

And that brings me back to the decision to add a packet to a full bottle of water, something I am now regretting even more—the flavor is actually okay as more of a “shot” (or mixed into something like orange juice), but “spread out” in water form, it does get harder and harder to drink the longer the bottle goes on. I’m only halfway done with the bottle, and I’m not looking forward to getting any farther. 

Lesson learned.

Overall: 8.5/10. This is yet another weird review, where I can’t really prove that this product is or isn’t working with any quantifiable evidence. That being said, it looks and it tastes pretty much exactly like the name brand, while the somewhat high price point for Aldi ($7.79) also further adds a strong possibility that this is the “real thing”, only with (godawful) private label packaging (and a godawful name). It’s certainly a shame these aren’t available in Aldi stores year round, especially here in 2020, with germs and health high on everyone’s lists. At any rate, if you’re a user of the name brand, this is definitely worth scooping up and having on hand the couple of times a year it seems to be available as a special buy; it might not function the same way, but it looks and tastes every bit as shitty as the national brand, but for about 25% less, which is good enough for a recommendation in my book.

NOTE: It's also available in raspberry, which I have yet to try.


  1. Actually the Aldi brand is 100x healthier.

    The national brands all contain Aspartic acid more commonly known as Aspartame-- which has been linked to dozen of health concerns from Cardiovascular disease, cognitive issues, intestinal dysbiosis, mood disorders, headaches and migraines.

    It's been banned in multiple countries.

    1. Well that's good to know! I actually had no idea. It tastes pretty similar to the name brands so it seems aspartame's inclusion is entirely unnecessary to begin with.

      Thanks for the comment!


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