“ Contains real fruit juice and vitamin C without the artificial flavours. „
Ribena have now relaunched their "healthier" version of their drink as "No Added Sugar" rather than the "Really Light" label as shown in the picture. This happened early in 2012 as far as I remember. The reason it's in my mind is that we get through bottles and bottles of the stuff at home, being our favourite soft drink, and I never really liked the really light (if you'll pardon the poetry!). To me it had a very distinctive taste, different from the regular Ribena drink. However, the fact that Ribena (original) packs a powerful and shocking 108 calories per diluted glass of 250ml, it was always in my mind how unhealthy this particular indulgence was.
When they relaunched this product, we gave it a try and there is no doubt that in the latest regeneration they have really captured all the rich flavours of regular Ribena much better. The full blackcurrant flavour is as prominent as regular Ribena, and when switching to this it was effortless because the they have managed to ensure that the taste is so similar. To me, it's delicious!
Compared to the 108 calories per glass of regular Ribena, this drink delivers all that flavour whilst only containing 11 calories per diluted glass! When I realised that difference I was absolutely gobsmacked. I have two glasses a day - at least - so from over 200 calories just for two glasses of juice, that's now a measly 22.
In addition, there is only 1.3g sugar (26.3g in regular), no fat, no saturates (the same as regular). It's still "rich in Vitamin C", providing 100% of Recommended Daily Allowance) but outside of the nutritional side of things there are more ego boosts along the way...
All Ribena is made with British blackcurrants, the label informs you that they are grwon in partnership with the Wildlife Trusts, and the bottle is 100% recycled.
The bottle is clear, so you can see the gorgeous blackcurrant colour of the concentrate. The cap is now covered in light blue foil rather than the purple one pictured, and the label also features the light blue colour more prevelantly. Getting into the bottle is easy, the foil breaks easily with a light twist, and inside, the liquid is protected with a ring-pull plastic protector. Be careful when you remove that pull, it's tricky to avoid a little splatter of ribena at that point! The plastic of the bottle is quite robust, so it does take a slight bit of muscle to crush it for recycling.
This is a lovely fruit drink which carries none of the sinful heavy helping of calories that Ribena regular delivers. It tastes every bit as good and is definitely one small step that I took, which over the course of a year has made a significant difference to my weekly calorie intake.
In my opinion, all Ribena products are expensive, but this is one treat for me where price doesnt' really feature. Depending where you shop, a 1lt bottle costs between £2.50 and £3. However, it regularly crops up on offer at the Co-op and at Tesco at 2 for £4 - so if you have a bit of an addiction issue, like me, then it's possible to stock up then, in which case it becomes very good value.
We drink a lot of cordial in our house, we did used to drink fizzy pop a lot and although we still have some fizzy drinks we try and drink cordial more instead. One of the best cordials is Ribena but not only is it rather expensive the original contains a large amount of sugar. So on a recent trip to Tesco I spotted Ribena cordial on a half price special offer and noticed they had the no added sugar one too so thought I would buy this instead of the original version.
The Ribena no added sugar that I purchased was on a half price special offer at just £1.38 For a 1 litre bottle.
The Ribena no added sugar is a concentrated blackcurrant juice drink with sweeteners. It is made with British blackcurrants and is rich in Vitamin C but does not contain any artificial flavours.
To make the Ribena it recommends to dilute 1 part (50ml) squash with at least 4 parts water to give a 250ml serving. It states on the bottle that the 1 litre bottle contains 20 servings, personally I prefer my cordial fairly week so I will probably get around 30 servings from the bottle.
A 250ml diluted serving of the Ribena contains:
Calories - 11
Fat - nil
Saturates - nil
Salt - Trace
I really like this cordial it is very tasty and not overly sweet. The blackcurrant taste is pretty strong and very fruity. As I stated earlier I like my cordial fairly weak as I find it more refreshing that way but even made with more water this cordial is still extremely tasty. I do find this cordial rather expensive which always puts me off buying it but when it is on a good offer then I certainly take advantage of it and stock up on a couple of bottles. Now I do love the original Ribena but it contains far too much sugar and is not at all good for your teeth or calorie intake so the no added sugar version makes an excellent alternative. In fact there is not that much difference in taste and there is sweetener's added to make up for the lack of sugar. I also love this cordial hot in the winter it makes a lovely warming drink and is great if you have a cold with the extra Vitamin C it contains. In conclusion it is one of the tastiest cordials you can buy and now you can enjoy it without feeling guilty about the sugar content.
I don't usually drink very much juice, preferring water or tea most of the time. On the occasions when I do buy concentrated juices I usually opt for either Ribena or for a Robinsons fruit squash. When I was in Tesco a few weeks ago they had a buy one get one free deal on both the Ribena and the Ribena No Added Sugar. I would usually buy the normal Ribena but since I am trying to shift a few pounds I went for the light version.
When I got home I saw that my flatmate had a bottle of the normal Ribena in the cupboard so I thought I'd compare them. I was really surprised to see the difference in the calorie contents! For a 250ml diluted serving the nutritional information is:
No added sugar version: Calories 10, sugars 1.3g, fat nil, saturates nil, salt trace
Normal version: Calories 108, sugars 26.3g, fat nil, saturates nil, salt trace
This is a huge difference between the two versions and was really quite shocking to me. It would be easy to drink a few glasses of Ribena in a day and really start to pile in the calories without thinking about it. This made me really glad that I picked up the No Added Sugar bottle! As well as the saving on calories, the lower sugar content is a real advantage in the healthy teeth department. I can also pretend to myself that I'm being healthy by drinking this as it is rich in Vitamin C, bonus.
As there is no added sugar, the sweetness is achieved by adding sweeteners to the juice. In my eyes this is a bit of a disadvantage as I have been trying to avoid artificial flavourings and sweeteners as I think they make me bloated. The juice contains aspartame and acesulfame K. Aspartame is the subject of some controversy and has been reviewed several times by the Food Standards Agency after it was suggested it could be carcinogenic. The sweetener is still considered safe for consumption but is tightly regulated by the Food Standards Agency to ensure levels are not too high. Aspartame poisoning can occur but only if you drink a ridiculous amount of sugar free drinks so I don't think it's something to lose sleep over! Acesulfame K is a sweetener which is usually used with aspartame as they mask each other's bitter aftertaste. It is also a bit controversial; again because of suggestions it may be carcinogenic. To be honest though, the tiny amounts of these chemicals in the drink wouldn't put me off having a couple of glasses a day. The benefits of not drinking all that sugar outweigh the concerns over sweetener safety.
What really interested me about the product was how good it tastes. I decided I would run a little experiment to see how similar the No Added Sugar Ribena is to the normal version. I enlisted the help of my flatmate to ensure it was a fair test. He got two identical mugs and put equal measures of the concentrate into each. He filled them up to the same level with water and remembered which mug had the normal Ribena in it. Unfortunately his memory wasn't amazing and he forgot. This led to a debate between the two of us after we had tasted both as to which was which. We both thought differently. So we ran the test again and this time he remembered correctly! I thought I had identified the juice correctly but I was surprised to learn that I was actually wrong! This was really interesting as I had always put off trying the Light version as I thought it wouldn't taste as nice. This test has proved me wrong and I think I will stick with this version in future.
I like the Ribena bottles and the fact that they have changed the gold foil colour to a blue colour for the Light version. This is useful as it makes the Light version easily identifiable in the cupboard next to the flatmate's "full fat" version. As a bonus, the whole bottle and cap is recyclable.
As I said earlier, I picked up the Ribena on a buy one get one free deal at Tesco. I have since seen the same deal at Co-op and Sainsbury's. Normally a 1 litre bottle will cost you £2.76 from Tesco. So it isn't the cheapest choice of juice concentrate around. To be honest I don't think I would buy this if it wasn't on offer just due to price. I feel it is quite expensive for what it is and I don't love Ribena enough to justify it. The bottle says it should make 20 servings if you use their recommended amounts. The amount that is recommended on the bottle is 50ml mixed with 200ml water. I normally use less than recommended so it does last a bit longer.
So, this Ribena has fewer calories, less sugar and more taste. I am a definite convert to Ribena Light!
Ribena is a Blackcurrent flavoured cordial drink, available in 1 litre, and 1.5 litre bottles, for dilution with water, or in 500ml bottles, 330ml cartons, and 200ml cartons ready to drink. Ribena comes as 'Regular Ribena', or as 'Riebna Really Light' which is a lot more healthy than the regular drink, due to the reduced sugar and therefore calories. . .
Produced by one of the UK's leading pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline, it is no surprise that a few health benefits can be associted with this product, which are included in the advertising on the Ribena bottles / cartons. These include:
Friendly to teeth
No added preservatives
No artificail Colours
Contains real fruit juice
Rich in vitamin C
A powerful Antioxidant
Keep Active, Keep healthy, enjoy Ribena
After reading all that, it might give you impression that this drink is not going to taste too good, as it sounds like more of a medicinal product, but it is infact a thoroughly refreshing, tasty drink, which is even more enjoyable when ice cold.
~ Price ~
I buy a Ribena Really light 330ml carton from my works restuarant / canteen each morning fresh from the fridge, but at an expensive £1:03. For me this is worth it when compared to the other fizzy, sugary drinks on offer at exactly the same price, it has to be Ribena every time.
However I spotted these cartons on sale in my local Morrisons store yesterday, at a bargain of 1 pack of 10 cartons (10 x 200ml) for £1:99 or 2 packs 20 cartons (20 x 200ml) for £3 for either the regular blackcurrent flavour, or the 'Ribena Really light'! What a great buy, that is only 15p per carton ( I will be taking these to work with me instead for the next few weeks!!)
These are great for sticking in the fridge, and using as part of a packed lunch, or just to grab one out of the fridge for instant refreshment.
~ Nutrional info ~
A 200ml Carton contains:
Vitamin C 80% RDA!
It should be noted that this drink is not recommended for children under 3 years old.
~ Conclusion ~
Ribena is a very refreshing, and healthy drink, especially the 'Ribena Really Light' drink. It can be expensive, especially when buying it in the large bottles if compared with other cordial drinks, but the taste and health benefits make it more appealling. It is well worth looking out for the supermarket promotions on Ribena, which are on quite regularly, and bring the price down considerably.
Thanks for reading.
© L500589 2011
Take a very nice tasting cordial style drink (Ribena) and remove the sugar and other things to make it much healthier and you get Ribena really light, which is no longer a very nice tasting cordial drink but a very artificial tasting bland drink.
Ribena has been around for as long as I can rremember and it is available in this cordial style where you add water to dilute yourself or in a ready to drink version, I always prefer to dilute myself because I like it just a little stronger than the ready to drink version.
This really light version however needs a fair bit more concentrate to get the same strength of Ribena blackcurrant taste and it has a very artificial taste which in turn leaves a very off putting after taste in the mouth and for me is not an option no matter how much healthier it might be.
As I am sure most people will know Ribena is high in vitamin C so when you add to that the fact that this drink is very low in calories and sugar and has no fat at all, it cannot be denied that this is a fairly healthy fruit drink but you do have to compromise on taste and for me that's no good.
Nutritional value per 250ml serving.
Calories - 10
Sugars - 1.3g
Fat - Nil
Saturates - Nil
Salt - Trace.
** Please note these are the values if the drink is diluted as instructed but I always have mine stronger than that in which case obviously the values will differ**
Ribena has been a household name for yonks and I for one am a big fan, In fact, so much so that my colleagues often joke I will turn purple If I drink any more of the stuff! I really like Ribena Really Light. Yes, it did take some adjusting but the more you drink the more you love! I like the fact its healthy, kind to teeth and not full of sugar like alot of other products. I drink the Really Light cordial and also carry the mini cartons around with me for when Im working. Its a nice healthy drink and it tastes good especially in summer with a bit of ice. I actually cant tolerate the full sugar version anymore having got used to this one and prefer to know im drinking something thats good for me and not full of sugar. Give this a try. yum!
I'm not a big fan of cordial style juices, and if I do buy them I generally like to stick to the organic ones such as Belvoir which is by the way delicious. However my family do like cordial and aren't that fussy, but the one that makes it in the trolley most frequently is Ribena Really Light Blackcurrent and at £2.77 for a 1 litre bottle, its quite reasonable.
Ribena has been around forever, well as long as I can remember so I decided to research a little before writing this review. Ribena was first introduced in the UK in 1936, made by the manufacturer HW Carter, but is was bought out by GlaxoSmithKline, which traded as Beecham in 1955. In 1942 most of the blackcurrant crop in the UK was harvested and made into a coridal drink which was given out to children for free. Ribena had a variation of the product called Toothkind, which was taken off the market as it was felt (by high court) that marketing made people believe it would not encourage tooth decay.
On the label you'll find the claim that it is rich in vitamin C a powerful antioxidant, which would lead you to believe that it is quite a 'health' conscious product. It is made from British blackcurrants, which is a bonus (thinking of the carbon footprint). In fact each 250 ml serving provides you with 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, impressive eh! In terms of sugary drinks, Ribena really light does have less sugar than regular Ribena and other cordials, but really what you need to consider is moderation is the key, even though it is a 'light' product. I only let my daughter have one serving per day, and try to get her to drink as much water as possible.
Nutritional value per 250ml serving (diluted as directed)
The bottle is made from recycled plastic which is great (not the lid though).
Now on to the all important taste. I find it quite sweet, even though it lacks added sugar, the sweetness is quite artificial, which is probably due to the sweetners added (asparatame) which I try to avoid if at all possible. The blackcurrant is quite refreshing and rather light, not at all syrupy like its original, but does lack the 'real' flavour of blackcurrant. It did hit the spot and quench my thirst, but it won't be my first choice drink.
I'll keep buying it for the kids, but I'm not a fan myself due to the 'artificial' sweet taste.
You are supposed to drink 2 litres of water a day, more if you exercise, however water doesn't actually taste of anything and so is a bit of a nightmare when you are trying to glug it all day! Cordial is great to try and lift the taste and make it taste a bit better resulting in being able to drink more. Ribena light is a great drink and brings back great memories from childhood. When using it is all about your own taste. I put about a nails worth of cordial into a glass and fill the rest with water so it is a nice blackcurrant colour. However the consumer may want more or less according to taste. It taste nice and sweet and even though it is the light version so therefore less sugar and kinder to your teeth it tastes fine. In fact the original cordial is too sweet for me so I prefer this version. This is a lovely and refreshing drink but is a little bit heavier than orange juice. I also used to have a friend when I was younger who used to have hot ribena which is also very nice but does make the drink an awful lot sweeter than what it is cold.
The plastic bottle itself is wide at the bottom getting narrower with a very thin neck, it has a foil top which ensures the consumer knows that it has not been opened. There is also a plastic pull ring which is underneath the cap which is sealed. Again another piece of security so the consumer knows it has not been opened however as you are supposed to shake the bottle before opening, when the ring pull is pulled back the juice tends to squirt all over the nearest thing, usually for me the cupboard door!!
When I was a child growing up in the US but with British grandparents, I would occasionally get the chance to visit the UK - this happened on average once every couple of years. During these visits, apart from seeing my grandparents, the best thing that happened to me was getting to sample all the sweets and treats that are sold in the UK but are not available in the US. Ribena was one of these treats. Blackcurrant is a flavour that is pretty much unknown in the US so Ribena always tasted quite exotic to me.
As an adult now living in the UK, I stopped drinking Ribena as I now find it too sweet and also I didn't want the extra calories it would bring. But today at work I ran out of my usual squash so headed down to our little shop to see if there were any low-calorie treats I could sample. I found this Really Light Ribena, which has only 10 calories per 250ml. I decided to give it a try.
Really Light Ribena comes in a plastic bottle with a plastic label wrapped around it. The bottle is made of 100% recycled materials. You need a pair of scissors (or in a pinch a knife) to get the plastic label off so you can recycle the bottle, but it is doable. To drink the Ribena you just screw off the plastic top and take a sip - there is no need to dilute this drink.
The taste is not that great but it's not terrible either. There is a strong taste of blackcurrant and it is just as sweet as regular Ribena is. However there is also a strong taste of artificial sweeteners. In fact this tastes like a mixture of Ribena with something else - something very fake and strange-tasting but sweet. Reading the ingredients list I find this drink contains aspartame. However it also contains 7% blackcurrant juice which is something I suppose.
I paid 99p for this stuff in the shop at work for a 500ml bottle. I bought it at lunchtime, it's now 8pm (I took the bottle home with me) and I still haven't managed to finish it. I won't be buying it again and will stick to my squash from now on.
When I was a child it was always a treat to visit my Grandmother, especially as this was the only time we got to drink Blackcurrant Ribena. I can remember then considering it a superb drink and fabulous on those hot summer days. These days I but my Ribena whenever I can, but more often when its on special offer.
Price and varieties:
When I was young the only Ribena available was Blackcurrant, but these days you can get it in Really light Blackcurrant and Strawberry. Plus as well as the traditional bottles they come in cartons and ready to drink smaller bottles too. It is made by GlaxoSmithKline Group of companies.
Currently the Really Light Blackcurrant Ribena costs £2.72 for a one-litre bottle or a special price of £4.50 for two. This product comes in various sizes too, a two litre, one litre, 600ml, 50ml and 330ml bottles.
About the product:
Well the product from the outside has changed. When I was a child the bottles of Ribena where made of glass. However these days the bottles are plastic and 100% recycled, this is clearly good for the environment. What I have also noticed when I was younger the bottles were often very sticky as the Blackcurrant used to stick to the glass and everything else it could, now with the plastic the bottles seem easier to handle and not so messy.
My Really Light Ribena is a 1 Litre plastic bottle. It has no the front the same design label that it always has. Depicting its name, some blackcurrant and proudly stating that it has no added sugar and is rich in Vitamin C.
While on the rear of the label there is a lot of information about re-cycling, nutritional advice and what each suggested serving gives you. The product on the shelves of the Supermarket is very easy to identify and it looks effective with its design.
The bottle has a screw plastic list that is easy to remove. But when you first take the top off, you also have to remove the plastic ring pull inside the bottle to pour the Ribena. As soon as I had done this I could smell the sweet smell of Blackcurrants, I must admit the smell always takes me back to my childhood.
Then I poured some of the dark purple liquid into a glass. It is recommended to use 1 part Ribena to 4 parts water. This Ribena for me is not as thick as the traditional variety but with all its Health advantages of no sugar and all that Vitamin C I'm not complaining. I also discovered it was not messy and sticky and pours quite slowly so your children do not end up slurping it everywhere.
When I first tried this light Ribena I was disappointed, yes it tastes primarily of blackcurrants but for me it lacked the really thick deep blackcurrant taste I associate with the traditional type. It was also less thick in consistency and weaker in taste, to me it tasted like a more refined drink that is good for you but lacks the real quality taste of traditional Ribena drink/
For me too much had been taken out from the original blackcurrant solution. Don't get me wrong this is still a pleasant drink and certainly quite refreshing especially when served from the fridge, with the quality blackcurrant taste. The main difference for me it did not make my taste buds water.
However when I look at the advantages other than taste this has I find it hard not to complete appreciate it. With it having no added sugar you have a more natural product that is friendlier to teeth. There are also no artificial colours in this bottle and it contains real fruit juice. It is also a powerful Antioxidant.
I think to fully demonstrate what a good product for us this is the details of what a typical 250ml diluted serving contains:
Vitamin C 167% of our Recommended Daily Allowance
While I do not think the taste of the Really Light Blackcurrant Ribena is as sweet, thick and sharp as the traditional Blackcurrant Ribena, it still has a very pleasing smell and a taste that's pleasant rather than delicious. It is better for than most squash's because the sugar content is so low and the Vitamin C content is so high. Really a drink I think you should encourage the kids to try and hopefully enjoy.
Ribena what ever its size, shape or flavour is never going to be a cheap option. It is quite a bit more expensive than its competitors, so you need to weigh up for yourself the benefits against the cost. For me it makes a nice change but I would not purchase it all the time.
This was not the taste sensation I was hoping for. It had a good blackcurrant taste to it, but for me lacked the depth and thickness in taste that Original Blackcurrant Ribena has. A pleasant taste especially when chilled that provides a rich source of Vitamin C and is good for your teeth. I will probably purchase this again but only when I fancy a change from other soft drinks.
For more information about Ribena products go to: www.ribena.co.uk
Thank you for reading my review.
@CPTDANIELS October 2009.
I took quite a few years to get into Ribena. When I was a kid I wasn't that keen on the quite intense blackcurrant flavour. But with time I got to like it yet didn't buy it because it was sugary and calorific. So recently I have been buying this light version.
And it doesn't taste much different in my opinion, which is a positive thing. Unlike things like diet coke it doesn't have an odd tinny taste, perhaps the fruit carries it better and the natural sugar in the fruit that's left over rounds off the edges.
Otherwise it's a very, very ripe blackcurrant flavour, and that's about it. A bottle lasts quite a long time because I don't find I need too much cordial to make a sufficiently strong drink.
The bottle is high quality, with thicker plastic than supermarket own brand, which is useful as you don't want a squashy bottle - this stuff stains if it gloops out!
And I find the purply ribena branding pretty appropriate for what it is. It's just a bit of a shame it's considered such a kid's drink. If it was less sweet it would probably be a fairly adult taste.
Oooh I do love this drink, which is unsurprising when I have a fetish for all things sugary. Ribena really light, for me, is a much better option though when satisfying my blackcurrent drink fetish.
Ribena really light contains no artificial colours, is rich in vitamin C, and claims to be friendly to teeth. The best part is, it has no added sugar, just the naturally occuring sugars in the fruit. It's not suitable for children under 3, but surely they are better off drinking water or milk than sweet fruit drinks anyway? Sounds like common sense to me.
The drink is to be diluted with water, I like mine quite strong, but you can make it up as you wish really. In the glass it is a glorious plummy purple and in the bottle a rich blackened plum. MMM imagine all those juicy blackcurrents that go into making it.
I find ribena quite addictive to be honest in it's sweetness and intense blackcurrent flavour. It's probably not best to drink it all the time though, but there are benefits thanks to the high levels of vitamin C. It is however, an expensive fruit drink, being a top UK brand. At £2.79 a litre bottle, we don't buy it unless it's on offer, which it is right now at Sainsburys. During the last time it was on offer I know I stocked up and bought at least ten bottles - we like it that much!
I like the original version too, and find the two don't taste much different from each other. For health purposes I prefer the really light version and so only buy this one.
My experience of Ribena Really Light was accidental for the most part, after I picked up a bottle that was half price in my local supermarket for my girlfriend, who is a secret Ribena drinker.
Now I'm all for healthy alternatives to family favourites. For example, did you know that a kilo of Flora has 3,000 calories more than a kilo of Flora Light?! That said, I can't really say there's a need for a lighter version of Ribena Light (as it was very healthy to begin with). I may be missing the point and this is possibly a re-branding exercise..
*Packaging and the like*
An attractive slimline plastic bottle made from 100% recycled materials. Congratulations GlaxoSmithKline - you just ticked one of the boxes marked 'corporate social responsibility'. Attractive pictures of fat blackcurrants and a distinctive colour scheme make this one instantly recognisable for all you brand addicts.
*Taste and nutrition*
This is a very tasty product, with that familiar blackcurrant-y flavour we have come to know and love. A very small amount can flavour a lot of water and this will be a boon for some people who aren't fans of 'plain' water. I'd recommend using slightly less than the 4:1 water/Ribena quantities suggested. Light and fruity, does exactly what it should. One thing I should add, however, is the fact that this drink does leave an unpleasant aftertaste. It's hard to define, but there's a definite 'slimeyness', or a slight film on the teeth and tongue. I attribute this to the use of artificial sweeteners that are used to replace nature's unhealthy sugary goodness.
*Contains Aspartame and a source of phenylalanine*
One of the sweeteners used in this drink is Aspartame and while I'm not too concerned about drinking it myself, there have been some studies that suggest negative health indicators in those that consume large amounts of this particular sweetener. I don't wish to prejudice you one way or the other, so maybe read up on this for yourself if you're concerned at all by the inclusion of this ingredient. It also features a source of phenylalanine which can give you an overly-active tummy if drunk to excess! You have been warned....
*Cost and availability*
Widely available at all good retailers, a litre bottle of this squash is definitely more expensive than own brand equivalents. It can set you back anywhere between ~£1.30-2.50.
Robinsons Ribena to me remains unbeaten in the Ribena wars. I've had supermarket own brands but they taste quite washed out compared to the real thing.
Robinson's Ribena in this case has a sweet fruity flavour, and the blackcurrent comes out really nice and strong. It is prepared by mixing it with water in approx 1:4 that being 1 part Ribena to 4 parts water. It can be made stronger though if you wish. It's normally sold in a plastic bottle with a plastic lid, which is sensible as this is perhaps mainly drunk by children, so no nasty glass to get smashed etc. The light version doesn't contain any added sugar so is much better on the teeth and to be honest, I personally can't really taste much difference between the two. It's rich in vitamin C and overall is much better than fizzy drinks.
It is however quite sticky if spilt so try to avoid it if you can, and is normally sold in most supermarkets and 600ml will sell for around 1.92. So it's considerably more expensive than own brands. However, it's much stronger so you're more likely to use less and it'll last longer.
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think Ribena is onomatapeic. When you say that 'beeeee' bit in the middle, you have to elongate your mouth into a facsimile of a smile. I think this is deliberate attempt to make you say it and associate it with feelings of happiness. But then, I'm full of rubbish. Let's see if our little blackcurrant friend is as well.
First of all, Ribena was the Rolls Royce of cordials when I was growing up. I was generally furnished with the supermarket's own brand of juice, occasionally being rewarded with Robinsons Apple and Blackcurrant or Vimto. Ribena was reserved for those occasions where I was unwell or deserving of a treat, and as such became my six-year-old equivalent of a 1945 Mouton Rothschild (I hope you appreciate that comparision - it took me ten minutes to find on the internet).
In this instance, I am not talking about the bottles of undiluted concentrate, I am talking about the ready-to-drink 500ml bottles you grab from the chiller cabinet. I am also focusing specifically on the Really Light Blackcurrant variety.
I have fallen foul of the way in which the ready-to-drink bottles are packaged on at least three occasions. There are different varieties, generally the traditional blackcurrant, its light variation, a blueberry one and a cranberry and blackcurrant one.
Cranberry is easy to detect, it's in a distinctive red bottle. Regular blackcurrant is liveried in traditional Ribena purple. The problem is blackcurrant light and blueberry are bottled in very similar blue bottles. The blackcurrant bottle turns purple halfway down, but when you are on a thirsty grab-and-pay from a news agent, you might not notice. I haven't on at least three occasions, and have found myself forced to drink the too-sweet-for-me blueberry variation.
There is a little bit too much written clutter on the packaging. A big green label on the front told me the bottle was 100% recycled. That sounds great, so when it said 'find out more on the back of pack', I was happy to oblige and learn about Ribena's Green credentials. I turned the bottle 180 degrees, then another 180 degrees, and then another 360 degrees in the opposite direction, but I couldn't see the 'more' I had been promised. I saw things about Ribena being friendly to teeth (not that I put much value in that, as one could describe a sedentary lifestyle as being kind to feet). I saw the nice people at Ribena work closely with EXPERT blackcurrant growers - none of your amateur madness here. There was a helpline number, a website and an address, in fact the only means of communication missing was a match glued to the lid, so you could start a fire and send smoke signals. There's even a little badger smiling at me from The Wildlife Trust's logo.
I have never eaten blackcurrant so I couldn't tell you if Ribena or Ribena light come close to it. I can compare it to other blackcurrant cordials and I know there's nothing that tastes quite like Ribena. To me, it has a Hovis-like quality of memories of a happy youth. I prefer the light version because it is a little less sweet in taste. The downside to this is that you lose some of that heady Ribena aroma. But it has enough to leave me satisfied.
The 500ml size is perfect for thirst quenching. I find I've drunk the smaller cartons before I reach that point and having two would feel decadent.
So you've bought your 500ml bottle and you want to know if it contains nuts, petrol or beetles (yes, bugs are used to make some food colouring apparently). What you'll realise, if you look at the information on the back (obviously stuck over the bit telling me about the 100% recycling) is that you hold, in your hand, TWO servings. That's right, according to the guide, a serving is 250ml. Bet you feel greedy now! To make it easier, you also get information about each 100ml, so you can work it out (if you REALLY want to).
Basically, in your bottle, you have 40 KJ, or 20 calories, 1.3g of carbohydrate which sugars. You'll also be getting 200% of your RDA for Vitamin C. That sounds great, but I've never felt like Popeye after drinking a bottle.
Overall, Ribena Light has a destinctive taste, though less pronounced than it's fuller-bodied cousin. It's refreshing and I recommend the bottle, because it has a screw top, so you don't get the wet patch you get with the cartons, when you accidently squeeze it too hard when you're not drinking.
Enjoy your Ribeeeeeeeena and keep smiling :)