Kool-Aid is an American brand of flavored drink mix owned by
Kraft Heinz The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC), commonly known as Kraft Heinz, is an American multinational food company formed by the merger of Kraft Foods and Heinz co-headquartered in Chicago and Pittsburgh. Kraft Heinz is the third-largest food and beverage ...
based in
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive Map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = List of sovereign states, Count ...
, Illinois. The powder form was created by Edwin Perkins in 1927 based upon a liquid concentrate called Fruit Smack.


Kool-Aid was invented by Edwin Perkins in Hastings, Nebraska. All of his experiments took place in his mother's kitchen. Its predecessor was a liquid concentrate called Fruit Smack. To reduce shipping costs, in 1927, Perkins discovered a way to remove the liquid from Fruit Smack, leaving only a powder; this powder was named Kool-Aid. Perkins moved his production to
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive Map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = List of sovereign states, Count ...
in 1931 and Kool-Aid was sold to General Foods in 1953. Hastings still celebrates a yearly summer festival called Kool-Aid Days on the second weekend in August in honor of their city's claim to fame. Kool-Aid is known as
Nebraska Nebraska () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. It is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, both across the Missouri River; Kansas ...
's official
soft drink A soft drink (see § Terminology for other names) is a drink that usually contains water (often carbonated), a sweetener, and a natural and/or artificial flavoring. The sweetener may be a sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice, a suga ...
. An agreement between Kraft Foods and SodaStream in 2012 made Kool-Aid's various flavors available for consumer purchases and use with SodaStream's home soda maker machine. There is an active scene of Kool-Aid collectors. A rare old Kool-Aid package can be traded for up to several hundred dollars on auction websites.


Kool-Aid is usually sold in powder form, in either packets or small tubs. The actual beverage is prepared by mixing the powder with sugar (the packets of powder are usually, though not always, unsweetened) and water, typically by the pitcherful. The drink is usually either served with ice or refrigerated and served chilled. Additionally, there are some sugar-free varieties. Kool-Aid is also sold as single-serving packets designed to be poured into bottled water, as small
plastic bottle A plastic bottle is a bottle constructed from high-density or low density plastic. Plastic bottles are typically used to store liquids such as water, soft drinks, motor oil, cooking oil, medicine, shampoo, milk, and ink. The size ranges from v ...
s with pre-mixed drink, or as such novelties as ice cream or fizzing tablets. The colors in Kool-Aid will stain, and hence the substance can be used as a dye for either
hair Hair is a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Hair is one of the defining characteristics of mammals. The human body, apart from areas of glabrous skin, is covered in follicles which produce thick terminal and fin ...
wool Wool is the textile fibre obtained from sheep and other mammal, mammals, especially goat, goats, rabbit, rabbits, and camelid, camelids. The term may also refer to inorganic materials, such as mineral wool and glass wool, that have properties ...

Advertising and promotion

The Kool-Aid Man, an anthropomorphic pitcher filled with Kool-Aid, is the mascot of Kool-Aid. The character was introduced shortly after General Foods acquired the brand in the 1950s. In television and print ads, the Kool-Aid Man was known for randomly bursting through walls of children's homes and proceeding to make a batch of Kool-Aid for them. His
catchphrase A catchphrase (alternatively spelled catch phrase) is a phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance. Such phrases often originate in popular culture and in the arts, and typically spread through word of mouth and a variety of mass ...
is "Oh, yeah!" Starting in 2011, Kraft began allocating the majority of the Kool-Aid marketing budget towards Latinos. According to the brand, almost 20 percent of Kool-Aid drinkers are Hispanic, and slightly more than 20 percent are African-American. In 2013, Kraft decided to overhaul the Kool-Aid Man, reimagining him as a CGI character, "a celebrity trying to show that he's just an ordinary guy."


In popular culture

" Drinking the Kool-Aid" is a phrase suggesting that one has mindlessly adopted a
dogma Dogma is a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted. It may be in the form of an official system of principles or doctrines of a religion, such as Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Isla ...
of a group or a (cult) leader without fully understanding the ramifications or implications. The backdrop of this are events culminating in the 1978 Jonestown Massacre. At Jonestown, Guyana, followers of Jim Jones' Temple drank from a metal vat containing a mixture of "Kool Aid",
cyanide Cyanide is a naturally occurring, rapidly acting, toxic chemical that can exist in many different forms. In chemistry, a cyanide () is a chemical compound that contains a functional group. This group, known as the cyano group, consists of a ...
, and prescription drugs Valium, Phenergan, and chloral hydrate. Present-day descriptions of the event sometimes claim the beverage was not as Kool-Aid but Flavor Aid, a less-expensive product from Jel Sert reportedly found at the site.
Kraft Foods The second incarnation of Kraft Foods is an American food manufacturing and processing conglomerate, split from Kraft Foods Inc. in 2012 and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. It became part of Kraft Heinz in 2015. A merger with Heinz, arr ...
, the maker of Kool-Aid, has stated the same. Implied by this accounting of events is that the reference to the Kool-Aid brand owes exclusively to its being better-known among Americans. Others are less categorical. Both brands are known to have been among the commune's supplies: Film footage shot inside the compound prior to the events of November shows Jones opening a large chest in which boxes of both Flavor Aid and Kool-Aid are visible.Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple
/ref> Criminal investigators testifying at the Jonestown inquest spoke of finding packets of "cool aid" (''sic''), and eyewitnesses to the incident are also recorded as speaking of "cool aid" or "Cool Aid." However, it is unclear whether they intended to refer to the actual Kool-Aid–brand drink or were using the name in a generic sense that might refer to any powdered flavored beverage. '' The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test'' is a work of literary journalism by Tom Wolfe depicting the life of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. The book's title is a reference to an acid test in Watts, California, where the Pranksters spiked a batch of Kool-Aid with the psychedelic drug LSD in the 1960s.

Other Kool-Aid products

* Kool-Aid Twists drink mixes (discontinued, some flavors still exist but no longer have the "Twists" moniker on the package) * Kool-Aid
Ice Cream Ice cream is a sweetened frozen food typically eaten as a snack or dessert. It may be made from milk or cream and is flavoured with a sweetener, either sugar or an alternative, and a spice, such as cocoa or vanilla, or with fruit such as s ...
Bars * Kool-Aid Singles drink mixes * Kool-Aid Kool Bursts * Kool-Aid Jammers (juice pouches similar to Capri Sun) * Kool-Aid Fun Fizz/Pop 'n Drop * Kool-Pops Freezer Pops * Kool-Aid Koolers juice boxes (discontinued) * Kool-Aid Dippers * Kool-Aid Drink Pitchers * Kool-Aid Cans * Kool-Aid Bottles * Kool-Aid Island Twists drink mixes (discontinued) * Kool-Aid Mega Mountain Twists drink mixes (discontinued) * Kool-Aid Fruit T's drink mixes (discontinued) * Ghoul-Aid Halloween themed drink mixes (revived in 2012) * Sugar Free Kool-Aid drink mixes * Kool-Aid Magic Twists drink mixes (discontinued); the powder of the drink mix changed color * Sharkleberry Fin Kool Pumps (discontinued); was a Burger King promotional item * Kool-Aid Ice Cool drink mixes (discontinued); gave the drinker a cooling sensation * Kool-Aid Invisible drink mixes turns the white drink mix powder clear * Kool-Aid Blast Offs space themed drink mixes (discontinued)


External links

The Kool-Aid Story
Adams County Nebraska Historical Society {{Kraft Foods Group American soft drinks Kraft Foods brands Nebraska culture Powdered drink mixes Products introduced in 1927 Soul food