LaCroix vs. Spindrift: Which is better?

For years now, we've known that sipping on sugary sodas isn't great for our overall health. However, there's something so satisfying about cracking open a cold, fizzy drink from the fridge. Enter flavored sparkling waters. LaCroix is probably the first one to spring to mind since it has been around since 1981 and recently boomed in popularity. In fact, the company quadrupled its sales between 2010 and 2015 alone (via Fast Company). 

It's no wonder, considering the amount of coverage the drink has received on social media, with fans ranging from health and diet influencers to mainstream celebrities (via Bon Appétit). In fact, even Prince Harry replaced his alcohol and caffeine habits with LaCroix while his wife, Meghan Markle, was pregnant (via Thrillist). While much of the LaCroix craze can be chalked up to effective marketing, it's also thanks in large part to the brand's wide variety of flavors, all touted as 100 percent natural, while remaining zero calories per can. 

With such a surge in popularity, it's no wonder multiple new brands of flavored seltzer have emerged onto the scene and started making waves, with perhaps the strongest contender being Spindrift. 

How Spindrift differs from LaCroix

While you might spot Spindrift stacked up alongside the LaCroix at your local supermarket, the truth is the two brands are on very different levels. For one thing, Spindrift is much younger, being founded back in 2010 (via Chatter Source). Of course, the most significant difference between the two brands is what they add to their seltzer in terms of flavorings. While LaCroix uses exclusively "natural flavorings," Spindrift adds "just real squeezed fruit," according to their website's about page. This addition of real fruit juice means the color of the drink itself, as well as the (still quite low, but non-zero) number of calories, distinguishes Spindrift from LaCroix (via Vox).

A quick look at the brand's FAQ section shows why they choose not to use those natural flavors: "We want to be as honest and simple as possible with our ingredients and the taste of fresh, real fruit is unparalleled." They further acknowledge that using natural flavors ensures more consistency from batch to batch, but the brand prioritizes transparency and quality of ingredients over that consistency. It's also worth keeping in mind that, with the addition of freshly-squeezed fruit, comes pulp in just about every can, which might not be everyone's cup of tea (via Thrillist). So, Spindrift might be a better choice if you're a stickler for real ingredients, but the true test is how Spindrift's taste stacks up against the classic LaCroix.

Which tastes better, LaCroix or Spindrift?

While preference between the two brands will always boil down to an individual's taste, there are plenty of opinions online to help steer you in the right direction, especially since the products match each other when it comes to price. For instance, the Tampa Bay Times evaluated 11 different brands of flavored sparkling water, and LaCroix came out on top, with the author calling it "perfect cold, at room temperature, by itself and in cocktails." Meanwhile, Spindrift received a poor review with the main critique being it "barely has any fizz." In a ranking by Grub Street, Spindrift came in last place among seven brands, with the harsh judgment that, while delicious, it simply isn't seltzer. Reddit users seem to echo this opinion, with one writing "In my new found love and obsession for sparkling water, I've determined that Spindrift just sucks. TeamLaCroix."

However, editors of the magazine Health rank Spindrift number one in its list of flavored sparkling waters, thanks almost entirely to its transparent ingredient list, plus the fact that the company is transitioning to BPA-free cans. However, it's worth keeping in mind that, that while the brand scored 10/10 on nutrition, it only managed 5.9/10 on taste. LaCroix came in third place according to Health editors, but scored ever-so-slightly higher than Spindrift in the taste category (6/10, to be exact), with one judge declaring "The good flavors are really good, but the bad ones are really bad."