This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Kara Goldin talks about sugar as if it were a bad thing–a very bad thing. Goldin, the founder of $30 million beverage company hint®, launched the company in 2005 after developing the unsweetened flavored water in her home kitchen as a healthy alternative to the sweetened juices she had been buying for her kids.
Goldin approaches the subject of sugar and sweeteners with the subtly of a presidential stump speech. “People ask me ‘who’s your biggest competitor?’ It’s the sugar and sweetener companies. They will use any food or beverage to sell their ‘drug.’ And use any language to make it seem healthy,” she says.
The former AOL executive doesn’t like diet sweeteners much more than sugar. She proclaims, “Almost 1/2 of Americans have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. That’s up 27% from a decade ago! And what are we drinking over the past decade? Diet sweeteners. You be the judge.”
“It’s criminal that we have allowed the word ‘water’ on labels to be used to define a drink that is sweetened. Water means health to most people and unfortunately many of these water drinks with sweeteners are not so healthy,” she continues.
The science, however, may not be quite as clear as Goldin’s passion. The American Diabetes Association describes the statement “Eating too much sugar causes diabetes” as a myth on its site.
Still, Goldin’s zeal seems to come from a genuine desire to improve health. That’s why she created the product in her kitchen over a decade ago, and it seems to be the driving force that propels the company forward.
Not only is the company’s water available in stores across the U.S., but in Silicon Valley, the company distributes the product directly to corporate campuses including Google and Facebook, Goldin says.
hint® is a member of the Social Venture Network and Goldin will be a keynote speaker at the spring conference on April 14 to 17 in San Diego, where, I expect, members will hear her stump speech.
On Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 1:00 Eastern, Goldin will join me here for a live discussion about hint®. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about hint®:
hint® is the leading unsweetened flavored water in the US today. We make it easier for people who don’t like the taste of plain water to drink water with just a little bit of real fruit flavor without sweeteners. In doing so, we help people get healthy and hear that in addition to helping them drink water, hint® is always helping people get healthy in their own way.
Kara Goldin is chief executive officer and founder of San Francisco based hint Inc., which produces the leading unsweetened flavored waters, with nothing artificial. Since its launch in April ’05, hint® has received numerous accolades from national publications including “Best Flavored Water” (in Health, Men’s Health, and SELF in both 2010 and 2012), “Best Enhanced Water” (BottledWaterWorld and BevNET) and “Top 25 New Products”. Kara started hint, Inc. to make it easier for consumers to lead a healthy lifestyle. Flavored only with natural fruit, hint delivers refreshment without unnecessary additives and sweeteners. hint’s latest brand extension is the introduction of hintfizz, a carbonated version of hint Water, that received the 2012 Better Homes and Gardens “Best New Product Award” as well as the 2012 Silver Stevie Award for “Best New Product or Service of the Year.” Kara has been a contributor to national outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, MORE, The Huffington Post, Forbes.com, Reuters and Businessweek as well as appearances on national programs including CNBC and Fox News. Kara was formerly the Vice President of Shopping and E-commerce Partnerships at AOL, where she grew AOL’s shopping business from startup to more than $1 billion in revenue in less than 7 years. In 2015, Kara was selected as winner of the prestigious Marketers That Matter award for Brand Building Small Company. Kara was also selected among only 10 other women as Fortune’s 2011 “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs,” and in 2012 as one of Ernst and Young’s “Entrepreneurial Winning Women.” She was honored with the 2012 Gold Stevie Award Winner for “Female Entrepreneur of the Year” & was listed as a “CEO to Watch in 2013” by OpenForum.com. And finally, Forbes recently named her as one of the “40 Women to Watch Over 40.” Kara is also an active speaker and writer as well as a member of SFBay YPO.