Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Kool-Aid, an artificially flavored soft-drink powder, was invented in 1927 by American entrepreneur Edwin Perkins (1889–1961). Inspired by the success of the gelatin mix Jell-O and working in his mother’s kitchen, Perkins invented a method to remove the liquid from Fruit Smack, a beverage concentrate he had developed a few years earlier. See gelatin desserts. The story of Kool-Aid reads as the prototypical rags-to-riches narrative of American ingenuity and hard work. Perkins initially manufactured and sold Kool-Aid in his hometown of Hastings, Nebraska, moving the company to Chicago once the product was established. The family-held firm was sold to General Foods in 1953, and Kool-Aid now belongs to the Kraft Foods Group, which acquired it in 1995.