One Serving Of Crystal Light: Half Of This Pre-Measured Packet

Foods that are bad for you have long fudged their calorie and fat content by putting the information for an impossibly tiny serving size on the package, instead of the amount that real people actually eat. Sandar thinks that Kraft is trying to pull the same trick with a new Crystal Light line. The packets of drink mix are designed with a 16-ounce water bottle in mind, but one “serving” is half the bottle–and half the packet.

I think this submission falls under the category of misleading and unnecessary product packaging/nutrition info…

I’m occasionally on the lookout for healthy, or at least less-unhealthy, alternatives to soft drinks, so I decided to try Crystal Light pure fitness. It’s a new powder drink from Crystal Light that uses Truvia instead of artificial sweeteners. It comes in boxes with little packets of powder that you add to water. So I got some, tried the grape flavor. Tastes pretty good. Then I checked the nutrition information and initially thought, “Wow, 15 calories. That’s pretty good.” Then I looked closer and saw that whichever marketing or product packaging genius who put this thing together decided to make each of the little packets contain TWO servings.



Yes, maybe it is a minor point of contention. So it contains 30 calories per packet. 70mgs Sodium, 30mgs Potassium and 6gs of carbs per packet. Still pretty healthy compared to a Coke. But really, Kraft? You came to the conclusion that each package contains TWO servings? Even the instructions, hopefully legible in the picture there, say to “Add 1 packet. Shake well.” Why don’t they read “Carefully measure out half a packet” so as to only consume 1 serving? It’s obviously intended to be used as 1 packet per serving, so why not just be honest and upfront about that and provide corresponding nutritional information? Why obfuscate and stupidify it?

I have to assume this decision was engineered by an idiotic bureacratic process or Kraft thinks we’re a bunch of morons.

It’s nice and low-calorie either way, but what would you consider a “serving” of this product?


<a href=””>What should be this product’s serving size?</a><span style=”font-size:9px;”><a href=””>online surveys</a></span><br />


Edit Your Comment

  1. ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

    Have you tasted that stuff? Are you really going to drink more than half a bottle at a time? For me a sip is a serving size.

    • Megladon says:

      Given a pitcher of kool aid is 750 cals when that stuff is so small i dont care if it tastes like horse piss i’m buying it. However I do enjoy the taste of a few of the flavors.

      • Wolfbird says:

        … tea?

      • Merricat says:

        May I suggest looking into Kool-Aid Fun Fizz? Better tasting, the added bonus of the pellets being ‘self-mixing’ and only 5 cal per 8 oz.

      • myCatCracksMeUp says:

        Make Kool-Aid with Splenda. I get the Splenda really cheap (for Splenda) at Costco, and the total cost isn’t much at all and there are basically 0 calories per pitcher.

    • haggis for the soul says:

      Me too, and it gives me migraines to boot, but some people really dig it.

  2. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Honestly, I think serving sizes are made up to get whatever neat, round numbers they want to appear on the nutritional information board.

  3. nbs2 says:

    I actually prefer that Kraft do this as a gesture of fairness to themselves. The generally accepted service size of a fluid is 8 oz. To make a fair comparison, it only seems right to use what others use.

    • CortJstr says:

      Yeah, the serving size of a beverage is always 8oz unless it comes in a non-resealable container (eg a can) in which case the serving is one container.

      If the wanted they could do like most 20oz sodas have started doing and list both “1 serving (8oz)” and “entire bottle” but there isn’t really room on that tiny packet.

    • david.c says:

      ^^ This

      Containers are not “serving size” in general. This is not being sneaky as who in their right mind would think 16oz beverage is “one serving” anyways? so that means 32oz is two servings?

    • Gramin says:

      Thank you. I’m glad there are at least a few informed consumers around here. Typical serving size is 8 fl oz.

      • Kate says:

        But why – who drinks only 8 oz? – that’s like a tiny juice glass.

        • nbs2 says:

          I don’t know the actual history, but I suspect it’s because one fluid cup is a standardized baseline that can be measured easily. If the US operated on the metric system, we might have seen whatever the rough equivalent is that is commonly measured (I’m not sure what their measuring cups are marked to measure). But, within the system that we have, the 8oz cup it is.

          • shepd says:

            Metric standard is 250 mL, which is just a little more than 8 fl oz.

            Of course, nutrition info here doesn’t always follow that. I think it depends on if you can easily mix/store the amount you want. My can of pop, which is obviously to be consumed in one sitting, gives a serving size of 355 mL (which is the entire can).

          • Xerloq says:

            Kraft’s reason is simpler than that They simply matched the serving size of a bottle of water. One 16 oz. bottle of water = 2 servings (see the pic in the post below). Therefore you’d need two servings of crystal light per bottle. They just but both in the same packet.

        • Xerloq says:

          This is why you’re fat.

          (Not you, personally. I don’t know you. I’m talking about the societal “you” here.)

          One serving of juice is 8 oz. Drinking that in large quantities will do the same.

    • RedOryx says:

      Thank you. This is exactly what I came to say.

      Take a 20oz bottle of whatever drink. It always says 2 servings. Only now have they started listing the nutrition info for both a serving size and the whole bottle.

      • Merricat says:

        And yet, the box of Crystal Light “Hunger Satisfaction” shit that has been sitting on my desk for three months has a 16 oz serving size listed, indicates the whole packet should be used, and still has the same number of calories.

        In fact, it even makes the same “15 cal to 70 cal” comparison at the top as this one does, only it uses “30 cal to 150 cal”

        This isn’t Kraft attempting to be ‘sensible’. It’s marketing crap.

        PS. Hands down, the best mix out there is Kool-Aid Fun Fizz, one grape pellet + one lemonade pellet = delicious fizzy 16oz drink with only 10 cal.

      • haggis for the soul says:

        This is also pretty silly to me. I would wager that most people don’t pour their bottled beverages into glasses to drink, because what’s the point of that? And would you put half a bottle of something you’ve already spit into back in the fridge to enjoy later? I think not.

    • Tyanna says:

      I would agree with you if I didn’t look at a package of normal Crystal Light that I have at my desk right now. The nutritional information is for 1 packet and the directions for this say: Add packet contents into 500ml bottle or glass (2 cups) of cold water.

      I would expect that the national information is comparable across all products in the same line (Crystal Light vs Crystal Light).

    • haggis for the soul says:

      Then why not put the product in 8 oz serving sizes? If you want to make a whole bottle, you can use 2.

  4. 12345678nine says:

    I don’t really have a problem with this case. I don’t think it’s unusual for someone to only drink half of their bottle of water and go back to it later. I would not have been surprised if it showed 2 servings.

  5. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Aren’t the labels calculated in “common” serrving sizes to help standardize them? If so, then this is fine. Since the instructions ask you to add it to 16ozs of water, then 8ozs(a cup) would be the standard of measurement. I just checked my fridge, and all the bottles of liquids, like Gatorade and iced tea have 8oz’s as the serving size.

    • Merricat says:

      As I and others have indicated, that’d be almost reasonable if it weren’t for the fact that:

      A. Their other Crystal Light products use a 16 oz serving size.
      B. There serving size didn’t expect you to split a pre-measured packet in half.

      This isn’t about standards, this is about Kraft marketing. They aren’t splitting the size down to to 8oz out of some sort of ‘respect’ for tradition, they are doing it because they think seeing that 15 cal number on the shelf will cause you to miss the fact that in reality it’s just the same as their other Crystal Light single serving mixtures.

      • cybrczch says:

        I have a packet of Crystal Light Raspberry Ice (purchased in early 2010 and sitting at my desk at work for most of the time), and it lists serving size as 8 ounces. So they’ve been using 8 ounces as a serving size for some of their products for at least a year.

        • Merricat says:

          Right, and a full packet for others. And given it’s one company, and one product line, the inconsistencies pretty much have to be due to marketing efforts. It’s not as if it’s two different companies or divisions are reading things differently, the folk who designed the packaging for one of these probably did the whole line.

      • SabreDC says:

        “B. There serving size didn’t expect you to split a pre-measured packet in half.”

        Just because you can make a whole pre-measured packet at once does not make it “one serving”. Look at powdered iced tea, coffee, or Kool-aid. One pre-measured envelope of Kool-aid is not one serving, even though the instructions say to empty a whole packet into a pitcher of water.

    • Salty Johnson says:

      They are mandated by the FDA to use a serving size of 8oz. The Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 Section 101.12 has a table of various consumable items, and all non-alcoholic beverages have a serving size of 8 fl oz.

      This is not Kraft being Krafty, this is Kraft following the law.

  6. Hi_Hello says:

    0-o. what the… it’s made so you can just pour it into a bottle of water, shake, and have your drink.

    how many people are going to drink 1/2 a bottle of water, then pour in a single serving package (if they made one).

    I dunno, I don’t like the taste. I rather just drink plain water.

    • Southern says:

      The lemonaid one isn’t bad, it’s the only one I can drink more than a sip at a time of.

    • david.c says:

      Yea … I generally drink a full gallon of milk at dinner time cause … you know … who doesn’t finish the container? get the point?

      It’s not a matter of whether you will finish the bottle / container … it’s just a matter of how many servings are in that container. I have issues when they deliberately mess with serving size to non-standard or just screwy amounts to try to fool you, but I don’t see that here.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        nah, you dont get it. or I said it wrong.

        the package was design for a bottle of water. if they made single serving package, people would need to pour/drink half of the bottle water before pouring in the package.

        they didn’t design the bottle of water, they just create a package that mix directly into a full bottle of water.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        These days, 8 oz is a nonstandard serving size. Way back in the ’90s, the FDA started getting on food manufacturers about the tiny serving sizes on packaging, where 3/4 cup of cereal was one serving, 8 oz of Pepsi, 1/2 a candy bar, 1 oz of chips, etc. Then food labels began having more reasonable info on them, based on the typical portion real people eat. For most convenience-packaged foodstuffs, the serving size is one container, be it 12, 16 or 20 oz. Soft drink and chip bags often have the full package amount listed as a single serving, even those large-ish bags of Fritos you get at 7-11.

        Getting a bit more technical, nutritionists talk about ‘servings,’ which are standardized by volume and/or weight. Non-nutritionists, who are typically thinking and talking about how much food they actually have in their cups, bowls and plates, should be talking about ‘portions.’ The ‘serving’ listed on most food packages should possibly be referred to as a portion.

        In the case of this product, Crystal has decided to reduce the portion size to 8 oz to make it look like the product has fewer calories than it really does, compared to other similar products. This is evident because other of their products use the 16 oz portion as a reference, and the package is meant to be mixed in a 16 oz bottle of water, and nobody is splitting that bottle with their buddy or saving half for later.

      • coren says:

        That’s exactly what happened here. 8oz as a standard serving size is outdated. This product is designed to be put into a bottle of water, shaken and drank. It’s premeasured for one bottle of water. To use another example, a can of soda is 12 oz, but I’ve never met someone who drinks 2/3, says “well, that’s my serving there” and saves the rest for another time. Serving sizes should be based on the product in question, not a measurement that isn’t relevant.

      • haggis for the soul says:

        A gallon isn’t an individual serving container, while a 16 bottle of water or something is.

  7. corrie06 says:

    Look at the nutritional information on a 16.9 oz water bottle. I’m pretty sure it says TWO servings. I think this is a case where Kraft designed the packet to fit one bottle (because who drinks just half a bottle?) and announced the nutritional information per servering which is normal. I don’t think Kraft is trying to be tricky–they are just working in the messed up system.

  8. turkishmonky says:

    And that’s why i think nutrition facts should also include the “entire container” serving size. It’s a pain calculating how many calories/etc are in a whole box of cereal or what not.

    • Christopher Jablonski says:

      That is often the most important figure for me too.

    • nbs2 says:

      If multiplication is too difficult a procedure for you, I’d suspect the local community college offers a Math 097 type of course.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Some packages do have calories per package – I remember some Pepsi products having the calories per 20 oz bottle as well as per 8 oz “serving.”

      To the hater below, some packaging sizes make it hard to figure out what the nutrition is in the entire package. Many canned soups and vegetables, for instance, under “servings per container” say something weaselly like “about 2.” This “about 2” is misleading, because it can mean anything from 1.6 to 2.4 servings.

      To use SpaghettiOs as an example: A can of SpaghettiOs has about 1.7 servings, even though the can says “about 2.” So first you have to figure out the ratio of the entire can to one serving, which is about 17:10. Then you have to multiply the nutritional data by the magic 1.7 to get your figures. I won’t blame anybody for not being in the mood for such nonsense. As your ability to calculate figures appears to be as fast as your ability to reach orgasm, all the more power to you.

      • Youngfrankenstein says:

        Totally true. Studies have shown that people assume whatever the container size is, is a proper serving. It is more about portion. Eight ounces has “always” been a serving size. I agree that I’m usually going to finish an open soda which is a 12 ounce portion.

  9. crb042 says:

    How many servings are listed on the typical 16 oz bottle of water? Maybe it matches up.

    • teke367 says:

      That’s the tricky part. A 12 oz can of soda is now listed as one serving (used to be 1.5), but any larger bottle, whether its 16 or 20 oz uses the 8oz per serving. So a 20oz bottle shows 2.5 servings.

      I think they had gotten in trouble when the cans were listed as more than one serving. Not sure if its because you can’t reseal it, or nobody drinks less than the whole can. I suppose, when this was updated, they were allowed to draw the line at any larger containers.

  10. ret3 says:

    How many servings does a 16 oz bottle of water say it has? If it’s 2, then Crystal Light is just conforming to that standard. I think that 8 oz is the usual serving size for beverages. On the nutrition label, anyhow.

  11. sirwired says:

    The FDA is working on it… but for now, Kraft has no choice. The FDA-standard serving size for a beverage is 8oz. While the manufacturer can round to the nearest serving size for a single-use container (i.e. a can), they certainly cannot label a mix that makes two “standard” servings as a single-serving container; the law on this is pretty straightforward. (21 CFR 101.12, in case you wanted to know.)

    To Kraft’s credit, when they are comparing this stuff to “Leading Beverages”, they are comparing it to an 8oz serving of those beverages, not a full 12oz can.

  12. Michaela says:

    Most 16oz drinks are considered 2 servings. This nutrition label isn’t uncommon.

  13. zigziggityzoo says:

    I’d rather have one packet with two servings than have to pour two packets into my one water bottle.

    • slim150 says:

      lolololol i dont think you understand..

      • zigziggityzoo says:

        No, I don’t think you understand. The FDA mandates the serving size.

        To complain that they put two servings in one packet is naive. The only alternative (short of changing the FDA regulations at the speed of government) is to put one serving in each packet, and make you put two packets in each 16 oz. bottle, or make each water bottle 8 oz along with halving the size of the packets.

        • Cosmo_Kramer says:

          Technically the FDA doesn’t REQUIRE the 8 oz serving size if the entire package is intended to be consumed at the same time (see: soda labeled as serving size = 1 can), but in practice drinks 16 oz and larger are pretty much always labeled with 8 oz servings. So why complain about consistency?

  14. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    Odd that the article says it uses Truvia, but the first ingredient is sugar. Evaporated Cane Juice is just a fancy word for sugar.

  15. RedOryx says:

    ” The packets of drink mix are designed with a 16-ounce water bottle in mind, but one “serving” is half the bottle—and half the packet.”

    Yes, because one “serving” of a liquid is considered 8oz. Hence 16 oz = 2 servings.

  16. Videorr says:

    Ocean Spray flavor packs say the exact same thing. I have a Cran-Pomagrante and a Cran-Grape with me right now, and they both say a serving is 1/2 a packet. Everyone claims 1 serving = 8 oz, but try to find any water bottle that’s less than 12… I use 1 full pack in a 24 oz sports bottle, so it really doesn’t bother me.

    • Brie says:

      I use the packets like tea – I boil 15 oz of water, then add the packet, then pour the hot stuff over ice and sip at leisure. (Obviously while I’m at work or at home. Doesn’t work so well on hikes.)

      As someone who’s trying to clean up her diet, Crystal Light’s multiple/half servings don’t bother me nearly as much as meal plans that suggest “half a banana” or “half wedge Laughing Cow cheese.”

      • Brie says:

        Edit to add: I do the ice thing because adding the whole packet to only 15 oz of water makes the bev too sweet for me.

    • SabreDC says:

      You know, you don’t HAVE to drink the whole thing at once.

  17. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    It’s pretty common for the serving size of a drink to be 8 ounces. Apparently 83.33 percent of consumerist readers don’t know that. Apparently the readers of this site aren’t very educated consumers.

    And apparently the OP is too dumb to figure out that to consume 1 serving you don’t need to measure out half the packet, you just have to drink half of the bottle of water after mixing the full drink. Save the rest for later.

  18. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    Relevant information from the FDA:

    “For products that require further preparation, where the entire contents of the package are used to prepare a large discrete unit usually divided for consumption, the serving size is the amount of the unprepared product used to make one “RACC for the prepared product.” The “RACC for the unprepared product” is the amount of the unprepared product that is required to make the fraction of the prepared product closest to the RACC of the prepared product.”

    What’s one “RACC for the prepared product”?

    “The RACC for beverages is 240 mL (8 fl oz).”

  19. Beeker26 says:

    Because the standard measure of a soft drink is 8 oz, not 16. So if they decided to label it as 16 instead of 8 then people would be complaining about how they’re being mislead because it’s not the same standard that other drink makers use. The 16 oz packet size was probably chosen to correspond with a standard sized bottle of drinking water.

    And while they could repackage the packets for 8 oz this would only serve to unnecessarily increase the cost of the product.

  20. kkevin6154 says:

    It’s funny this story was posted today. I was just talking about misleading nutrition labels last night. I looked at a single packaged blueberry muffin last night and the first thing I saw was 190 calories……thinking “not bad” till I saw the serving size was 1/3 of the muffin. Who the hell is going to eat 1/3 of a muffin! This is purposely misleading. They should be forced to show the total calories of 570 and the serving size of 1 muffin/package.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Muffins must be labeled in 55g serving measurements.

    • Xerloq says:

      It’s not misleading, it’s informative. They define both the serving size and # of calories. Besides, see this article for why it’s a moot point, anyway:

      Wouldn’t change if they did it for your muffin, now would it. Besides, according to Food God (i like him, anyway) Alton Brown, most muffins are easily 3x the size of those from yesteryear.

      The question is, why are you eating 3 muffins?

    • Beeker26 says:

      It would only be misleading (at least in my opinion) if there was a big burst on the front of the package saying “Only XX calories*” or “Only XX grams of fat*” and in teeny tiny type “*per serving”. Cause then it appears as tho they are talking about the entire package when in fact they aren’t. To me this would be misleading and deceptive.

      But just having a serving size that’s smaller than the package size isn’t misleading — again, at least not to me.

  21. seth_lerman says:

    And in further news my box of Mallomars is 18 cookies… But the serving size is only 2…

  22. Bella_dilo17 says:

    Well, they’re assuming that it’s 8oz, which is fair, but most water bottles are 16.9oz.

    Really people. Read the label, then there’s no problem.

  23. Xerloq says:

    The serving sizes are made to match the number of servings in a bottle of water.

    Here’s a pick from a 16.9 oz bottle of watter.

    Serving Size 8 fl. oz.
    Servings Per Container: About 2.

    • Merricat says:

      Here’s a pick from another Crystal Light product.

      Serving Size 1 packet

      It’s marketing. It has nothing to do with the standards other than how they’ve managed to subvert them.

      • Xerloq says:

        It’s nothing to do with “subverting” the standards. It’s the standards that cause the confusion. Read Cosmo_Kramer’s post above on “RACC for the prepared product” then the FDA regs.

        The instructions for the OP’s packet direct the preparer to “Take a sip” from a 500 ml (16.9 oz.) water bottle or use 16 fl. oz. of water in a cup, then add one packet. This way you get 2 full 8 oz. servings.

        Your instructions direct the preparer to use the full 500 ml, using the entire 16.9 bottle as a serving.

        Since the water bottle states that a serving is 8 oz., the crystal light must match the “RACC for the unprepared product'” Hence, two servings per packet.

        Sure they’re not consistent, but it’s not subversive. Perhaps they’re in compliance now, hm?

  24. redskull says:

    Just last week I noticed the back of the pickle jar in my fridge says, “Serving size: 3/4 spear.” I guess they expect me to cut off 1/4 of a pickle and thrown it back in the jar.

  25. KenyaDigIt says:

    I believe serving sizes are actually based on the daily recommended number of servings. If you have a can of fruit that satisfies your 3 daily servings, it’s going to be divided up into 3 servings. I don’t think it’s a clever trick as much as a way to neatly divide up serving size in a way to help people get their daily nutritional requirements.

    Similarly, if doctors are recommending people drink 8 cups of water per day, it’s not unusual to divide beverage servings into cups, which are 8 oz.

    I don’t think we should be blaming Kraft just because too many people have trouble performing simple math.

  26. randomman says:

    That bottle is also 2 servings.

  27. TheGreySpectre says:

    8 ounces is a standard glass size and pretty standard severing size of liquid. Does the OP think that if you order a large soda that is just one serving as well because it only comes in one container?

  28. mike says:

    I actually figured this out a while back. double the water and half the packet. Otherwise, it takes too sugery.

  29. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    FDA specifications call for a serving size on most drinks of 8 oz. That is why a 20oz soda has 2.5 servings. Serving sizes were standardized to make comparisons easy.

    Just because you drink 1 bottle of water, does not mean that is one serving. Ever hear that you are supposed to drink 6-8 8oz glasses of water a day?

  30. Ed says:

    I would consider zero of this crap. There is only one sweetener that is healthy. Stevia. You can buy it in power or liquid form at healthy grocery stores (whole foods, Henry’s Market, etc) or online at Amazon. Insanely potent. 3 drops will sweeten 8oz of liquid.

    • crazydavythe1st says:

      Um, that’s basically what this is. It contains primarily Truvia mixed with some amount of cane sugar. Truvia is a mix of rebiana (which is an extract of part of the stevia plant) and erythritol. Erythritol is a naturally occuring sugar alcohol found in many fruits that is very low in calories.

  31. kimmie says:

    Well, in theory you could drink half the bottle and put it in the fridge for next time. Or do what my mom does and make a pitcher at a time from the normal containers and just pour it into normal sized glasses when you want an 8 oz serving. While this is a problem in general, Crystal Light doesn’t seem like the worst offender.

  32. drjayphd says:

    The best defense I could think of is they use 8oz as a standard measurement and just don’t have room on the packet to print the full size nutritional info as well. At least that’s the defense I’d want to see out of them.

  33. HungryGal says:

    What’s wrong with drinking plain water? Don’t let the advertising departments convince you that somehow drinking a 15 calorie (or 30 calorie, or 70 calorie) fake fruit flavored powdeed beverage is somehow better for you than plain old water.

    “Waters boring” you say? Well, it is. Deal with it. Maybe if you allow your brain to accept that you can survive more than a few hours without some kind of FLAVOR in your mouth, you’ll do a big favor to your metabolism and waistline.

    Snacks and ‘soft drinks’ (of all kinds, including the non-carbonated ones) are killing America. You can still have 8 oz of the juice of your choice at breakfast, though. I’ll let you keep that. Then switch to water, or if you really insist on flavored liquids, perhaps herbal tea or seltzer.

  34. lordargent says:

    1) Buy miracle berry tablets
    2) Dissolve half a tablet on your tongue
    3) Stir lemon juice into water (NO SUGAR!)
    4) Enyoy a virtually calorie free drink

    (miracle berries temporarily (1-2 hours) make the sweet receptors on your tongue respond to sour/bitter flavors. So the sourness of the lemon you mix into the water tastes sweet instead.)

    What’s the catch? The tablets are about $1.50 each (so a 1/2 tablet dose is 75 cents).

    /My master plan is to take a bottle of lemon juice with me when I eat lunch and mix it with water (instead of getting a soda). Not only will I save on the expensive soft drinks, but I will be drinking a tasty glass of lemonade without the medicinal aftertaste that artificial sweetners give me.

  35. Smultronstallet says:

    Multiplying by 2 isn’t that difficult.

  36. Cetan says:

    I make my own pre-measured low-calorie sweetened drink mix at home.

  37. chaelyc says:

    I hate when non-resealable packages that appear to be single serving aren’t. It’s so scammy.

    I think it was a Monster energy drink or something that I noticed was 2 servings. It’s carbonated & in a can. How in the world would you save your second serving for later?