Odwalla Looks for Clear Advantage with New Packaging

Odwalla Carrot JuicePerhaps, as the adage goes, a rising tide floats all boats. Yet in an increasingly crowded shelf for super-premium juice, it’s the cold-pressed, high pressure processed start-ups that are emerging atop a surging wave of demand for ultra-high quality liquid. And while category pioneers Odwalla and Naked — both blended, pasteurized brands — are the unquestioned leaders in terms of sales and distribution, the juice stalwarts are continuously being squeezed for space.

Taking a cue from its cold-pressed counterparts, Odwalla has replaced its longtime 12 oz. single-serve frosted plastic bottle with a larger-sized 15.2 oz. clear PET container and added photos of real fruit to its labels. The new look package launched nationally two weeks ago.

It’s the second time in less than two years that the Coca-Cola-owned brand undergone an makeover, though this is the first time that Odwalla, seeking a more dynamic visual identity, has used a clear bottle, one that it believes will help its juices and smoothies stand out on the shelf.

“The new package provides a more premium look and also gives consumers what they want: the ability to see the delicious product inside,” Coke said in a statement.

The 15.2 oz. bottle is the same size (not shape) employed by PepsicCo’s Naked juice line and Starbucks-owned Evolution Fresh (which recently carried out its own packaging update) and offers consumers 25 percent more liquid than the previous package. Odwalla has also dropped a color-coded system that matched caps with each juice/smoothie segment in favor of a consistent green cap across all of its beverages.

The labels maintain Odwalla’s well-established “What’s Inside” panel (i.e. for its Mo Beta variety: juice from 2 oranges, ¾ peach, ½ plum, etc.), and now prominently feature the products’ non-GMO formulation, with a pointed statement of “No GMO. If a bioengineered version of an ingredient exists, Odwalla does not use it.” on the back of the bottles.

Though Odwalla beverages are sold across most retail channels, the brand is highlighting placement in the produce section of grocery stores. In the days prior to the launch of the new package, Odwalla announced on Facebook and Twitter that it was “doing big things in the produce section,” and paired the statement with an image of an expansive Whole Foods-esque produce department with pears, apples and stone fruit abound.

Odwall 25 Percent Larger

Yet while the brand claims that “thanks to [its] new, clear bottles, the Odwalla shelf is more vibrant than ever,” not everyone is pleased with the revamp. Criticizing the move as one that comes at the expense of Coke’s PlantBottle technology, which Odwalla began using in 2010, some consumers took to Facebook to voice their displeasure.

“What did you do with the superfood plant bottle?” asked Cary Crites. “It’s the only reason I buy this over Naked, and now it seems you’ve discontinued it. What’s happened to being a leader in packaging technology? What’s up?

Meanwhile, Nathan Ortolan was a bit more rhetorical in his anger.

“And you went back to petroleum bottles because some d_____bag marketer wanted them to be clear?” he asked.