Elevation Mixed Berry Electrolyte + Vitamin Drink Mix Sticks (Aldi)

A box of Elevation Mixed Berry Electrolyte + Vitamin Drink Mix Sticks, from Aldi
Not sure I dig this overly minimalist packaging...

A few months back, Aldi quietly added some new variants to their “Fit & Active” line of drink mix sticks (at least, I think it was quiet; I saw no advanced notice about them anywhere until I saw the product in stores). Marketed under the “Elevation” banner - their brand of health bars and other supplements - these “Electrolyte + Vitamin” drinks purport to offer just that: a mix of electrolyte and vitamins. Only in portable drink mix stick form. And for about the same price as their other "non-electrolyte + vitamin" drink mixes. Who can complain about that?

I grabbed “Mixed Berry”, both because I liked the color of the packaging (blue), and because it sounded like it would be the best flavor. Speaking of the packaging, I can’t tell if its minimalism is sleek, or annoying; I feel like it straddles the line between both. The more I look at it, I think I’m leaning toward the “sleek” side: it really stands out among other Aldi products (especially in the drink aisle), while matching up with Elevation’s other products, which have just recently undergone a visual rebranding. On the other hand, there are no noticeable, attention-grabbing images of any kind, outside of the grey "plus" sign evaporating into smaller grey plus signs...okay, well when I put it like that, I kind of hate it. It's a gutsy decision to intentionally make packaging look so boring, but I admit, no matter what I think of it, it does at least manage to stand out. And that has to count as a win, right?

Anyway, we know there are electrolytes and vitamins from the title...but what are the included “vitamins” you may be wondering? Well, as the packaging states, it’s an “excellent source of 4 B Vitamins”, and those four are: vitamin B6 (70%), vitamin B12 (130%), pantothenic acid (120%), and niacin (60%). 25% vitamin E and 20% vitamin C mostly round things out, except for one curious addition: 0% potassium. Well, it technically has 65mg of potassium, but that's presumably not enough to register as a percent; I’m sure there’s a logical reason for why there's any potassium in it at all, but it’s just kind of funny to see on the packaging.

In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t have a full water bottle on me, so I’ve had to resort to using a half-size 8 oz. mini bottle in order to test this out. To get roughly the same flavor (and to stretch it out over multiple bottles), I halved the drink mix pouch to the best of my abilities, meaning it might be a little weaker or stronger than it typically is. I know we’re not over here doing scientific studies, but I guess I feel that’s worth a mention: I don't want the guilt and shame of a poor review method hounding me for the rest of my life. 

Okay, this has a pretty good taste. It’s kind of in line with “berry” flavored energy shots, in that it doesn’t really taste all that much like any specific berry, or set of berries, but it is sweet and smells and tastes like it could be based on a fruit. However, while the “berry” profile might be similar, it’s definitely not as strong as the taste in those shots, which tend to be overly syrupy. The reduced "syrupiness" also means it has some good chuggability, which is the term used for products that can be gulped down in large quantities with no issues. While I suppose technically any liquid can be gulped, I personally feel like some are more meant to be savored: like drinks that have a more complex flavor profile, or stronger taste. The relatively light hit to the tastebuds is the perfect strength for throwing down while staying active.

I also noticed, and maybe it’s just me, that I get a little energy kick after downing some. I never knew why, but after doing a little bit of nutrition label research, I've come to the conclusion that it's the B vitamins doing their work. As you may or may not know, B vitamins are the ones responsible for providing energy (and are included in virtually all energy drinks), and seeing as how this contains four of them, it makes sense that they would activate the energy modules in the body. However, I thought they only worked well in conjunction with caffeine, and that certainly doesn't seem to be the case. It's not as strong of an energy boost as drinks with caffeine, but it picks me up for a little while, which is more than I would expect coming from a product completely void of the drug.

The more I drink it, the more I will say that this is definitely a beverage that's meant to be enjoyed during activities, when you just need something to replenish your body's lost nutrients, and don't really care about the taste. It's not that it's bad, it's just that it gets blander and less interesting the more you sit there and sip it; there's no "edge" or anything to it. Again, that's kind of the point, but whereas some drinks surprise you by being more versatile than you might think, this is not really one of them. 

This is a solid, affordable, portable beverage that doesn't quite have a taste that I would need to have around all the time, but the enhanced vitamins and electrolytes certainly make it a niche product that I will get more often than other such products.

Overall: 6.5/10
. It tastes good, and the added vitamins are a bonus, but this just doesn’t quite reach the lofty levels of deliciousness that other Aldi drink mixes reach. Since I don’t typically feel the need to replenish electrolyte levels (and consume energy drinks to get my B vitamins, along with the caffeine this mix is lacking), I usually just stick to the regular Fit & Active drink mixes, which generally offer up some great flavor in a sugar free package. However, for those times when I need a little boost during some physical activity, I would definitely turn to this to provide it. It seems to offer a mild energy boost without caffeine and that’s a pretty big deal, especially for those sensitive to the drug. A great drink to have on hand when you're active, but not really a great choice for sipping.