HOT TAKE: Supermarket Seltzer > La Croix

I have been hardcore budgeting which means even the littlest purchases are zoomed in on or cut out. Everything is under scrutiny. Anything can be spun as extraneous.

One of these extra expenses that are under investigation: La Croix. No, the beloved canned water is not that expensive and, duh, tap water is free. It’s an easy expense to cut out. However, water with a little fizz is a gift. It adds an elegant, fun pep to the otherwise banal. Given that I only drink water or wine, La Croix is a kind middle ground between the two.

However, La Croix’s price has inflated over the years: prices have jumped from $3 a dozen in 2010 to eight packs ranging from $3.40 to nearly $5. At my local market (Ralphs, aka Kroeger), the cost of an 8 pack is $5. That isn’t that bad but, when budgeting, that inflation is absurd. You can do better.

Thus, a search began for a cheaper alternative of the same quality. And? The generic, supermarket canned sparkling water (“seltzer”) is $2.99…for a twelve pack. Plus, as supermarket items go, coupons from rewards cards help to drop the price. Instead of getting 8 for $5, you’re getting four extra cans and two dollars back in your pocket. Hmm. That seems like a win, no?

Moreover, the supermarket version doesn’t taste that different from ye olde standard of La Croix. In fact, in some situations the flavors are better. A rough breakdown: lemon-lime supermarket is a lite Sprite™ revelation compared with La Croix’s now paltry lemon and lime; mandarin is a fuzzy parallel to La Croix’s orange; and cranberry-lime is a much better version than any of the La Croix Curaté entries. I dare not try coconut though as that is historically dicey.

Moreover, supermarket bubbles are often harsher than La Croix which is the highest reward of a can of sparkling water. Yet, there is a risk: I’ve happened upon a few bubble-less cans in a supermarket dozen, which would never happen with La Croix. It is a very, very bizarre and blasphemous occurrence.

Outside of the obvious lapse in can design, supermarket seltzer is a near equivalent to La Croix. Remember, people, La Croix is not fancy: it’s a domestic Wisconsin creation pronounced “La Croy” that has been co-opted by neo-yuppie trend munching. Let’s not kid ourselves of the reality of our projected elegance. La Croix is all constructed hype, a variation of poor people drag.

So try supermarket seltzer over La Croix. The differences are minute and, in some ways, the cost/benefits of supermarket seltzer are better. Let the supermarket canned sparkling water revolution begin.

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