He’s helping us make Grins the best it can be.

Grins is passionate about giving kids and all other consumers healthier options in a beverage marketplace that is too often the enemy of their good health.

We couldn’t do what we do without someone with expertise in food science who shares that passion.

Craig Bair is that person.

Bair has more than three decades of experience working in the food industry. He has a PhD in food science from Iowa State University and has worked with companies including Frito-Lay, GNC, Quaker Oats and many others.

When he came across the then-fledgling organic segment back before it became one of the hottest trends in food sales, he purposefully molded his career to help these manufacturers he saw who were striving for a healthier, more natural product.

“It became my passion,” Bair said. “ It was so much different from the conventional food business, where a lot of people were out there just trying to make food look better and taste better without any conscious effort to trying to keep the nutrition as good as it was naturally.”

In the years since, Bair has been an innovator, always wanting to try things nobody else is doing, with the central goal of making every product he works with as nutritionally beneficial as possible.

“I love being ahead of the curve” he said.

At Grins, we share that passion for innovation, and for working hard every day to make sure there are options on store shelves that will help people, not hurt them, in their quest to live a healthier lifestyle.

Dr. Bair continues to work with us as we strive to make our products even better, based on the needs we see as we talk to experts in the schools, military, youth sports and other groups we visit in our work.

We’re happy to share his expertise and passion for natural ingredients with you in every bottle of The Official Beverage of Happy People.

Grins works to keep Americans from “Pouring on the Pounds”

We at Grins recently had the opportunity to see some of the public service announcements that are running in New York City as part of that city’s efforts to educate people about the dangers of overconsumption of sugary beverages.

The NYC Health Department’s “Pouring on the Pounds” campaign makes a compelling case against drinking too many calories through overly sweet beverages.

At Grins, we see ourselves as being on the same team. Our goal is to make beverages that taste great, but that offer people a healthier alternative to the overly sweetened beverages they have grown accustomed to.

We have just recently created a calorie-free version of Grins that we will be bringing to market soon. And we talk constantly with our contacts in the education, military, sports and other fields to learn about what else we can do to offer appealing products that meet their nutritional needs.

Read our letter to the New York City health officials here.

More of the same from Pepsi with “Kickstart”

PepsiCo announced this week the launch of a new beverage called “Kickstart by Mountain Dew,” which is supposed to be an alternative to juice or coffee in the morning. It contains some fruit juice, along with artificial sweeteners and colors, high fructose corn syrup and more caffeine than a regular Mountain Dew soda.

It appears to be an energy drink whose flavors (orange citrus and fruit punch) will appeal to young people.

Kickstart contains 92 milligrams of caffeine–compared to 72 milligrams in Mountain Dew. Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned against caffeine for young people, saying, “Because of the potentially harmful adverse effects and developmental effects of caffeine, dietary intake should be discouraged for all children.”

It’s drinks like this–and the big beverage companies’ continued efforts to cater to people’s least healthy cravings–that drove us to create Grins in the first place.

Grins is not in the “energy drink” category, although we think the hydration we provide, along with the positivity of our brand, will leave you with plenty of energy. Grins is what is known as a “better-for-you” beverage.

We are trying to wean consumers away from the hyper-sweetened, over-sugared, caffeine-packed concoctions that are hurting them (Have you read the reports linking energy drinks to emergency room trips?).

We don’t use caffeine, fake sugar, fake colors or exotic additives you can’t pronounce.

Grins is meant to put you on a path to a healthy lifestyle, including more activity, better food and better hydration.

We think you can have great taste without compromising nutrition.

We think Life Deserves Grins.

Need we say more?

Sometimes numbers speak for themselves. Here’s a comparison of Grins versus two other beverages that the USDA would allow in schools of all grade levels under its recent “Smart Snacks in School” proposal. Grins would be allowed at the high school level under these rules.



Want to tell the USDA what you think? Learn more about the proposal here.

Grins: USDA beverage rules could do more to encourage healthy habits

Grins Enterprises Inc. applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s efforts to improve the quality of food and beverages America’s children receive in schools through tightened standards for its school meals programs.

The USDA’s “Smart Snacks in School” proposal made earlier this month includes a lot of common-sense standards that will improve young people’s diets.

Grins is a beverage company committed to improving the health and well-being of our country’s children.From that perspective, we must disagree with some key assumptions behind these rules.

While 100 percent fruit juice is a more natural product with more vitamins than soda and sugary juice drinks, parents and children should realize that it still contains a lot of calories and sugar, without providing the fiber and other benefits a person would receive by eating a piece of whole fruit.

The USDA’s proposed rules would allow only milk, water and 100 percent fruit juice in middle and elementary schools. High schools would be able to sell additional beverages, including diet soda and other calorie-free flavored beverages, and other drinks with 50 or fewer calories per 8-oz. serving.

Pure apple juice contains more than two times that amount of calories.

And while artificial sweeteners don’t add to a young person’s calorie load, they have been scientifically proven to interfere with natural appetite control, and can make people crave even more sugary foods.

At Grins, we don’t think these are the right tools to use in the fight against childhood obesity.

Our better-for-you beverages were born at the front lines of that fight. A school foodservice manager told us he was unhappy with the beverage options he had to serve to his students. Popular sports drinks were full of artificial ingredients and sodium, and many drinks packed far too many calories.

Working with a respected expert in the organic and natural foods industry, we developed Grins. Grins is a better-for-you beverage with no artificial sweeteners or colors. It has fewer calories than the average sugar-sweetened beverage, and fewer than half the calories of 100 percent apple or orange juice. Grins also delivers a reasonable dose of essential vitamins.

The human body can’t perform without a constant supply of fluids. Most of us need 64 ounces or more of fluid each day.

In a perfect world, we would all drink water to quench our thirst, but the preference for sweet is programmed into us by evolution, and has been shown to exist from birth.

Grins seeks to fill the need for some of those 64 daily ounces to taste like something other than water, without weighing you down with calories or using artificial ingredients to trick your tastebuds.

Grins can be a fun, healthy part of an active lifestyle, and a growing number of schools, retailers and young athletes are discovering this.

Join us in helping everyone make better choices to get the fluids they need. You can learn more about our story at grinsbev.com.

Fruit juice, sugar and why we’re making Grins

The above clip is from the recent HBO documentary, “The Weight of the Nation,” a call to action on America’s obesity epidemic.

Among the points the film addresses is the way we seem to have swapped out soda for 100 percent fruit juice in so many areas of daily life (school cafeterias, hospitals, etc.), under the assumption that it is “healthier.”

While fruit juice is a much more natural beverage than soda and provides many more vitamins, the main driver behind obesity, weight gain and increased diabetes rates is sugar and caloric intake.

On this measure alone, juice doesn’t look that different from soda.

Take, for instance, 100 percent apple juice. An 8-ounce serving has 120 calories, and 26 grams of sugar. An 8-ounce serving of Coca-Cola has 100 calories and 27 grams of sugar.

Surprised? So were we, and that’s one of the reasons we created Grins. We wanted to bring an all-natural beverage to the marketplace that would give people a great-tasting option that delivered fewer calories and less sugar than other popular beverages.

An 8-ounce serving of Grins has 50 calories and 12 grams of sugar. Half (or less) than you’ll find in many juices and sodas.

You can read more about recommendations for limiting juice intake in this recent story by a writer for the Chicago Tribune. It includes this quote from the HBO documentary:

“Juice is just like soda, and I’m saying it right here on camera,” pediatric obesity specialist Robert Lustig said in the documentary “Weight of the Nation,” produced in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “There is no difference. When you take fruit and squeeze it, you throw the fiber in the garbage. That was the good part of the fruit. The juice is nature’s way of getting you to eat your fiber.”

Winston-Salem’s soccer HQ makes Grins its first beverage

Soccer Unlimited in Winston-Salem celebrated its 30th year in business March 12. In all those three decades, the soccer retailer, which has been a gathering point for Winston-Salem’s soccer community as it has grown, hasn’t offered beverages for sale.

Until now, that is. Last week, Grins became the first beverage President Brian Fitzgerald put in his shop.

Fitzgerald said he learned about Grins while working with Winston-Salem native and Major League Soccer player Wells Thompson on his Wells Thompson Signature Soccer camp back in January. Grins was the official beverage sponsor of the camp.

Fitzgerald–who doesn’t go for high-sugar beverages in his own home–said Grins’ nutritional profile appealed to him.

“In our family, we don’t drink soft drinks or Gatorade, … so we loved the idea of a low-calorie, better-for-you beverage,” he said. “It’s the only thing we’ve put in the store.”

A lot of kids come to Soccer Unlimited fresh off the field from soccer practices, games or tournaments, and Fitzgerald said he wanted them to be able to grab something to help them rehydrate–he just wanted to make sure that something wasn’t going to load them down with sugar or sodium.

“I like everything about the drink and thought it fit in well with our philosophy here and the vibe in the store,” he said.

For a full list of where to buy Grins, click here. Find Soccer Unlimited on Facebook here.

New USDA school lunch standards fit with Grins’ mission

The USDA this week announced the first major overhaul of school lunch standards in more than 15 years. The new standards aim to put more fruits, vegetables and whole grains in front of the nearly 32 million children who get their midday meal from federally funded school lunch programs.

A good summary of what the new standards will mean for the average school meal can be found in this  USDA press release. The new standards are to be phased in over a three-year period, starting in the 2012-2013 school year.

The same legislation that set these new rules also has something to say about the beverages students are offered outside of the lunch line. According to the USDA, “Foods and beverages sold in vending machines and other venues on school campuses will also contribute to a healthy diet.”
We at Grins are very happy about this news. The only reason we exist is because a school foodservice manager came to us begging for someone to develop a beverage that offered better nutrition than those already on the market, with a pleasing taste that would get kids to pick it up in the first place.
At 50 calories per 8-ounce serving, our product provides fewer calories than most sugar-sweetened beverages, and fewer than half the calories of 100 percent apple or orange juice. We have said before that in a perfect world, every child would drink water to stay hydrated, but we know reality–kids are drawn to sweet flavors. It’s our goal to give them a healthier way to satisfy those cravings and get the fluids they need to stay active and be healthy.
Grins salutes the work that Michelle Obama and the USDA have done to try to address the problem of childhood obesity through improving school lunches. Healthier, happier kids is a goal we can all grin about.