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

Grins takes off in first Virginia school system

Abingdon High School

Grins made its debut in Virginia schools this week, and is now for sale in cafeterias at Wallace Middle School and Abingdon High School in Washington County. This school district is just down the road from where Grins is made, at First Fruits Beverage Co. in Marion, Va.

Students and teachers alike immediately made Grins a favorite. After just two days of lunchtime sales at this school of 800 to 900 students, school nutrition manager Barbara Davenport said she’s down to one remaining case, from the 10 Grins dropped off yesterday.

“It has really taken off,” she said. “I think I’d better order more, because they’re going to be asking for it.”

Davenport said she likes the fact that Grins is a better-for-you alternative to higher-calorie beverages marketed toward young people.

But what makes it stand out among the cafeteria’s offerings of fruit juices, milk, water and Vitamin Water, is its refreshing taste and a lack of what she called a “funky aftertaste” that can come from too many artificial ingredients.

“A lot of the students yesterday enjoyed the taste of it, that it was refreshing and that it didn’t have that artificial aftertaste with it,” she said, adding that many of the students who were previously purchasing Vitamin Water are now asking for Grins. “That was the big clincher there.”

She said faculty members have also become fans. One teacher bought some to take to her daughter after soccer practice, as an alternative to soda.

“Teachers have commented that they like the taste of it a lot better,” Davenport said.

The idea for Grins was born in a school cafeteria, after a food service manager complained about the lack of healthy options he had to offer his kids [Read the full story here.].

Grins is made with no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners, and packs just 50 calories per 8-ounce serving, which is fewer calories than many pure fruit juices.

Davenport said she looks forward to replenishing her school’s supply of Grins, and to serving it throughout the rest of the school year. When the first day of the 2012-2013 school year rolls around, you can bet Abingdon High School will be grinning.

Learn more about Grins at, or find us on Facebook.

Grins is great fuel for school

Lindsey Payne and Charles Odom enjoy Grins in class at Mt. Airy High School.

Grins is entering more schools every week. This week we had a great time introducing The Official Beverage of Happy People to students in Mt. Airy City Schools and Surry County Schools in North Carolina.

As we’ve always said, you never have a bad day selling Grins, and the students really embraced both the brand and the beverage.

In fact, they liked it so much that they shared their enthusiasm on our Facebook page almost before we had returned from our school visits!

We are excited to launch next week in Elkin City Schools and Stokes County Schools in North Carolina, and to enter our first school system in

Chelsea Palfreeman and Blake Martin got their hands on some Grins at Mt. Airy High School.

Virginia–Washington County Public Schools.

Since Grins is made in Marion, Va., we’re really grinning about taking all the enthusiasm and excitement that is building around this beverage into that state.

For a full list of school systems where we are sold, and for information on how to contact us about getting Grins in your school, visit our schools page here.

Grins makes them smile.

Forbush Middle School in Yadkin County, NC, has been serving Grins since February, and they love it. Students in Mrs. Taylor’s class, above, had been studying marketing, and put together their very own Grins commercial as a class project. We think they deserve an A+ for getting the Grins message exactly right. Nothing like The Official Beverage of Happy People to make you smile in the middle of a tough day!

Spreading Grins everywhere we can

Nathan Battle and Ben Bloodworth at The Really Big Expo in Myrtle Beach.

It’s been a busy several months here at Grins headquarters, but there’s never a bad day when you’re selling Grins.

From the Wells Thompson Signature Soccer camp in January to the meetings we’ve had with school officials all over the Carolinas to the Southeast Petro-Food Marketing Expo we attended last week in Myrtle Beach, people everywhere seem to love the taste of Grins and the positive message we carry.

We wanted to keep you up-to-date on a few things, and we hope you’ll stay tuned to this blog in the months to come, as we expect to have more exciting news about The Official Beverage of Happy People.

  • Grins is now available in all Quality Mart convenience stores. You can find a list of all their stores here, and don’t forget to check our full list of retail locations here to see where else we are available.
  • Grins continues to be a hit in school cafeterias. We’ve heard from school administrators that kids are regularly choosing us over their usual Gatorade and other sports drinks. That’s great news, because we know we provide a healthier product than these beverages, and the reason we exist is to help kids (and everyone, for that matter) make healthier beverage choices. We’ve started a separate page on Grins in Schools to provide information on where we’re being served. Check back often, because we expect this list to grow rapidly.

School administrator: Grins replaced Gatorade here.

The students and faculty at Westchester Country Day School in High Point, N.C., have been able to buy Grins on campus since last fall. We first told you about their enthusiasm for Grins here.

This week, we received a testimonial letter from Assistant Head of School Gardner Barrier, telling us just how popular Grins has become at the school. You can download the original letter here, but here is what he had to say:

February 7, 2012

Gardner Barrier

Dear Fellow and Future Grins Lovers,

Westchester Country Day School has greatly benefited (you might even say that we are grinning) from having Grins on our campus. In addition to the beverage being delicious – the brand is about living a healthy, positive life.

When our school had the opportunity to have some of the very first cases of Grins delivered to us, we knew we would enjoy the beverages after sampling them weeks before. However, our school staff did not foresee Grins being so successful that it would essentially replace Gatorade and various other beverages on our campus. 

Our campus is “Grinning” and our school community concurs that “Life deserves Grins.” We look forward to ordering more cases of Grins and trying new flavors as they become available.


Gardner Barrier

Assistant Head of School and Head of Upper School

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.

Grins put to the test at Westchester Country Day School

Westchester Country Day School students help with a Grins delivery, with Assistant Headmaster Gardner Barrier behind the wheel of the Grinsmobile.

High school students are tough critics.

One of the reasons we started making Grins was to provide a healthier alternative to many of these students’ preferred beverages (read more about this here). Of course, to make that worth the effort, you’ve got to create a product that tastes good, so kids will choose it above the other beverages.

We think we’ve accomplished that, and we got some good proof this week at Westchester Country Day School in High Point, N.C.

The kids and administrators at Westchester have been crazy about Grins since they first tasted it. They are participating in our Grin and Share It! program and also selling bottles in their cafeteria and concessions stands.

Assistant Headmaster Gardner Barrier reports that the first day Grins went on sale in the cafeteria, about half the kids bought Grins and half bought their usual Gatorade. It didn’t take long for that to change.

By the second and third days selling Grins, Barrier said, almost nobody was buying Gatorade anymore.

Want to get your school grinning? Contact Nathan Battle.