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NEW FLAVOR PACKS A WEAK PUNCH

Put on your Carmen Miranda fruit-encrusted turban and stir up a pitcher of Kool-Aid's new Pina-Pineapple punch. The .15-ounce packet is yours on a five-for-99-cents special at Smith's. (You get to add sugar and water.)

Don Russell (married, five children at home, ages 6-16): "We don't plan to dart to the grocery store to stock up on a few more envelopes of this one. Simply put, the pineapple flavor was punchless. Most of the kids said they tasted very little flavor except the sweetness. If you choose to use this pineapple flavor, we suggest you plan to doctor it with some other complementary flavor like coconut."Edyth Jensen (married, three children at home): "This new Kool-Aid has a nice flavor of pineapple and it smells like a pina-pineapple drink. It is cool and refreshing as most Kool-Aid is. The family liked it and we will use it along with the other wonderful flavors of Kool-Aid punch."

Nihla Lake (married, two children at home): "I remember the good old days when Kool-Aid offered just the basic unpretentious flavors - cherry, orange, lemon, lime, etc. Nowadays, we have a whole array of exotic names and flavors to choose from. Pina-pineapple left an awful lot to be desired. The artificial flavor was weak and took some strong imagination to equate it with pineapple. The one redeeming ingredient was the ascorbic acid, which at least provided 10 percent of our daily Vitamin C.

Linda C. Tingey (single mother, two teenage boys at home): "I'm glad to see Kool-Aid come out with some new flavors to give a little variety to pick from. The Pina-Pineapple was very, very, very sweet. Too sweet for my teenagers, but my grandkids liked it. I would just buy this for the grandkids. It might be better with a little 7-Up to tone down the sweetness."

Rich Firmage (married, four children, oldest 10 years old): "My 4-year-old daughter loved this stuff and was really upset when it was gone. To me it is just flavored sugar-water, but I will no doubt buy some more for my daughter."

Bill Allred (single): "I really hate Kool-Aid. Never found a flavor of the stuff I like and all the sugar you have to put in it concerns me. I went ahead and mixed this up and even though the package says the drink is `super fruity,' it just tasted like punch to me. No thanks."

Conclusion: The kindest of our testers suggested doctoring up thispunch with more flavoring or some 7-Up to counteract the sweetness. "Punchless flavor" and "sugar-water" said the tell-it-like-it-is people. Looks like most of our thumbs were turned down for this too-sweet drink.