Food: Drink: Soda Pop
Cooler Kool-Aid™   (+5, -1)  [vote for, against]
4 out of 5 moms prefer it.

When carpet manufacturers test their product for stain-resistance, they use the single worst-staining substance known to man: red Kool-Aid™. It seems to me especially perverse that this super-stainer happens to be a product intended for use by those among us who are *most* likely to spill something on a carpet.

Kool-Aid™'s manufacturer (Kraft) surely needs to keep the trademark color, but even if it is impossible to reproduce the exact shade using less aggressive dyes (which I question), it certainly is not impossible to microencapsulate the magic dye in a safe, food-grade capsule material, rendering the drink nearly stain-free without losing any of the color.

Microencapsulating the dye would add cost, but I bet there are millions of mothers who would rather pay an extra three cents per packet than replace a carpet or re-upholster a sofa.

<boilerplate>Kool-Aid™ has got to be a trademark of Kraft Foods.</boilerplate>
-- beauxeault, Jun 11 2002

Kool-Aid http://www.kraftfoo...s/ka/kaIndex&wf=809
[[ sctld ], Jun 11 2002]

AGBarr http://www.agbarr.c...gbarr/barrframe.htm
Makers of some of the most stainiest soft drinks known to man. In my opinion. [[ sctld ], Jun 11 2002]

Microencapsulation in foods
Mentions microencapsulation of flavors fragrances, nutrients, etc. in foods, and microcapsules as small as 1 micron, as well as nanocapsules smaller than 1 micron. [beauxeault, Jun 11 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Microencapsulated dyes
dyes mentioned among the many microencapsulated products. [beauxeault, Jun 11 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

"The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test"
[waugsqueke, Jun 13 2002]

//single worst-staining substance known to man: red Kool-Aid™//

I don't know, IRN-BRU comes with a warning label about its ability to stain, so does tizer.
-- [ sctld ], Jun 11 2002

For us non USAns, what exactly *is* kool-aid? Is there a brit equivalent?

Something to sell in the american dept. of the Big I, along with animal crackers and twinkies, perhaps.
-- yamahito, Jun 11 2002

// hydrated with water//

raises interesting questions about alternate hydration methods... what aren't Kraft telling us?
-- yamahito, Jun 11 2002

Hang on a minute, if Kool-Aid™ is the single worst staining substance known to man, then surely if you extract the dye, then *it* will become the single worst-staining substance.

I don't think I understand this idea - you've got the clear-aid, you've got the dye they dissolve in the drink or what? Do they just bob around in suspension?
-- stupop, Jun 11 2002

yamahito, Kool-Aid™ is a powdered mix of color, flavor, and sometimes sweetener that is mixed with water to make a cheap drink that's popular with small children. I'm a little surprised to learn it's not part of the same American hegemony steamroller that's paving the world with CokeMcDonaldsBritneyFriendsEtc™.

stupop, it's not clear-aid. The dye is bound inside of clear microcapsules that are small enough to remain in suspension in the liquid. It's a technology that's used in quite a few foodstuffs. The drink is not rendered clear; it keeps the color. But when the colored microcapsules contact the fibers, the capsules prevent the dye from dyeing the fibers.

There may be one or two worse stains in existence, but none that are as likely to come in contact with carpet fibers. That's why red Kool-Aid™ is used in the industrial stain-testing labs (they also use coffee and mustard, but these do not stain as aggressively, and are more likely to be controlled by the steadier hands of adults). It may also be that other materials are worse for staining cotton or polyester, but carpets are most often nylon, which is especially susceptible to whatever is in red Kool-Aid™ . AGBarr's products may well use the same dye, but they could also use the same solution, if they thought their customers would pay extra for the stain protection. I'm sure Kool-Aid™'s customers would.
-- beauxeault, Jun 11 2002

Yes, however I'm not convinced that the microcapsules would do as good a job at colouring the liquid. What sort of order of magnitude are they?
-- stupop, Jun 11 2002

One thing microcapsules can do is disperse solids more effectively in liquids, so they might color the drink even better than the dye itself. If the dye needs to be in solution to develop its color, it can be encapsulated in solution and still be a dry, more easily-dispersed powder in the package. In fact, encapsulating the dye already in solution might add some weight to the package that would suggest the consumer is getting something for the extra money.

Microcapsules get as small as 1 micron in diameter. But if you need them smaller, specialized techniques can make nanocapsules below 1 micron.
-- beauxeault, Jun 11 2002

yes, but I want to know what it *tastes* like - microcapsules or no...
-- yamahito, Jun 11 2002

I'd like to add to beauxeault's excellent definition with a sinister appendix.

In the 1970's, a cult leader named Jim Jones moved his flock, called "The People's Temple" (formerly based not far from here, in wacky Berkeley, CA), to a rural spead in Guyana. From there, Jones got increasingly megalomaniacal, using endless propaganda and sleep deprivation to keep his cult members in line. He claimed that people from the outside world were bent on destroying the Temple; when these destroyers arrived, he insisted that his flock would have to commit mass suicide to protect the honor of the cult.

The destroyers never showed up, but Jim Jones went through with his suicide plan. Cyanide was mixed into huge vats of Kool-Aid (grape flavor, I think), and all cult members were forced to drink it. Most of them died where they stood.

In the decades since, people who commit themselves to a foolish cause (a belief system, a large corporate employer) are often said to have "drunk the Kool-Aid". Meaning, You've done it now; you're one of Them; there's no way out.

Occasionally, a marketing group aligned with a large company or its "new-economy" offshoot (let's say, K-Mart and its ill-fated will try to invoke the "drink the Kool-Aid" cliche by wheeling out a vat of Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid at a huge corporate event. The employees of said online branch of the corporate giant are then invited to drink the stuff, thus becoming "true members" of the corporate "family". And they do drink it, because many of them were actually born in the 1970's, and have no memory of the infamous Jonestown Massacre.

Sure enough, some months later, the online branch of the corporate giant dies, foreshadowing the giant's own declaration of bankruptcy not long after that. The hapless Kool-Aid-drinking employees are summarily laid off -- which, as anyone who has ever been laid off can tell you, is the working equivalent of mass murder.

The moral of the story: DO NOT, under any circumstances, drink the Kool-Aid. Particularly not if it is blue, or purple, or offered to to you by another person. Just stay away from it. That shit's evil.
-- 1percent, Jun 11 2002

Jonestown aside, what are you crazies talking about?! Kool-Aid is awesome! "And only pennies a glass," as the marketing tells me.

Makes good mix for vodka, too. (Don't think they've marketed that angle, though.)
-- MrWrong, Jun 11 2002

You could approach this from the other direction, you know ... work on getting the Kool-Aid out of the carpet. I recall hearing a program on public radio once about a cleaning service that specializes in crime scenes after the police are done. They have all these special chemicals that remove blood, brains, etc. from your walls and floors. Maybe the same folks could drive around suburban neighborhoods in a truck like an ice-cream man's, vending their Kool-Aid removal skills to desperate parents.
-- magrak, Jun 11 2002

lz is correct. The red is so concentrated that the flavor is "red". Encapsulating the dye or otherwise making it more carpet friendly would change the flavor. I believe this would likely be a good change though.
-- pasodad, Jun 11 2002

Vodka being the answer to yamahito's question about what Kraft isn't telling us.

Red dyes, not just kool-aid, are powerful stainers. There are 'red cleaners' out there specifically designed to work on red dyes...
-- StarChaser, Jun 12 2002

Perhaps all carpets should be Kool Aid coloured.
-- stupop, Jun 12 2002

I believe that was one of the Funny Face drinks from Pilsbury.
-- pasodad, Jun 13 2002

I used to lick Kool-Aid powder for hours from my palm when I wasn't licking salt. Still got a red spot there.
-- FarmerJohn, Jun 13 2002

Yeah, licking myself really made my buddies envious. Said one, "I wish I could do that." Said the other, "Shouldn't you ask if he'll let you first?"
-- FarmerJohn, Jun 13 2002

Perhaps even Kooler-Aid?
-- crunkindonuts, Dec 15 2003

To understand Kool Aid(tm) go to __ Rose St. Far Rockaway NY (11691) and knock on the door. Mrs. ___ is still sitting there sipping purple Kool-Aid(tm) with the box next to to the big glass. I remember her in 1968 when I was four years old. Went back to the US in 2004, and knocked on our old neighbors door. She was there looking the same, sitting in the same position, sipping the same purple drink. She recognized me (first mistaking me for my father, then realizing it couldn't be). Turns out they moved, but come back to look after the house every summer.

I'm sure she's still there.
-- pashute, May 15 2011

Microparticles tend not to stay in solution. One would have to use nanoparticles as hydrostatic forces will balance their smaller individual masses. But there is an added problem with the nanoscale: suspended nanoparticles give the solution a translucent appearance. So, the best you could do is get kool-aid that looks like it came from a nuclear test sight. [-]
-- daseva, May 15 2011

//kool-aid that looks like it came from a nuclear test site// Isn't that a normal appearance for Kool-aid?
-- mouseposture, May 15 2011

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