What is “Informational Kool-Aid”?

The Influence of Fake News  on Purchasing Decisions

June 12, 2024


As a society, we find ourselves increasingly immersed in a sea of information, where the lines between truth and fiction blur with alarming regularity.

The proliferation of media outlets, social platforms, and digital channels has given rise to what can be described as the “Informational Kool-Aid” – a concoction of false narratives, conspiracy theories, and distorted facts.

This phenomenon has had far-reaching consequences, shaping public opinion, political outcomes, and everyday purchasing decisions.

It is increasingly important to critically examine the role of data in combating false beliefs. Let’s take a look at the phenomenon of “Informational Kool-Aid” by delving into the ways in which data is used to either confirm or challenge preconceived notions.

By understanding how data can be manipulated and misinterpreted, we can better equip ourselves to sift through the noise and arrive at more informed and evidence-based conclusions.

The Ingredients in Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid contains:

  • water
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • less than 2% ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
  • natural and artificial flavors
  • citric acid
  • gum arabic
  • glycerol esters of wood rosin
  • Red 40
  • calcium disodium EDTA
  • sodium benzoate
  • salt, modified cornstarch
  • calcium phosphate.

If you’re thinking “what in the world are most of those ingredients”, you’re not alone…

Calling Kool-Aid is a “food product”, more than it is a food (or drink).

Kool-Aid is owned by the Kraft Heinz company, so this might not be surprising…

Similarly, each of our opinions are unwittingly shaped by a concoction of fact and fiction, carefully curated by media outlets, social platforms, and sometimes even political forces.

Just like the food industry, each of those “ingredients” that make up the media we consume are specifically crafted to create addiction.

In a world where consumers are the source of financial growth (at the expense of the individual), the effect on the humans is often secondary (if not lower).

A great example of this is how “fake news” spreads faster than real news and reporting.

“Informational Kool-Aid”

The way that we consume media and information has changed dramatically throughout the generations.

Gen X: newspapers, TV news, and radio

Millennials: internet news sites, newsletters, streaming services, Facebook and Instagram

Gen Z: TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube to get news and information.

Of course, it’s slightly more complicated than this — however for now, let’s focus on the sources that these generations used as they were becoming adults.

The research shows that we are most loyal to brands and companies that we align with at an early age. Yet, as the truth (and fake news) are more readily spread through social networks, Gen Z is now less loyal than previous generations.

Brands and Their Reputation

These changes in “informational Kool-Aid” across generations significantly impact the ability of brands to manage their reputation. In fact, brands are spending more than ever on awareness, reputation, and transparency — that is what goes the farthest with young people.

Brands that are seen as “good” or “honest” by Gen Z tend to be those that are viewed as authentic and transparent in their values and practices. The problem here is that brands primarily communicate their social and environmentally friendly values through their own marketing strategies and channels. In today’s climate, that often leads to lower trust — because everyone is extremely wary of greenwashing and false claims.

At Karma Wallet, we focus on the values that brands support, with the understanding that no human, and no company is perfect.

You can discover the values of 18,000+ companies here, how the brands you interact with line up with your personal values.

For brands, you can learn about the Karma Collective — a community of brands (like The Bouqs, and Reel) committed to financial wellness for people, society, and the planet — here.

From The Founder

Thanks for reading!

As co-founder of Karma Wallet, I want to be able to speak directly with our community – that’s you!

Through this writing, I’ll be touching on topics like social impact, the power of community, and the role of personal finance in changing the world.

I can’t wait to hear what you think 😊


Kedar Karkare, PhD

Co-Founder @ Karma Wallet | Co-Owner @ DoneGood