Review: Genius Drops HPP and Gets a New Package
Covers Products: Original Coconut Smoothie (2016)
Genius, which was formerly known as Genius Juice while hanging its hat on the use of high pressure processing (HPP), has taken a slightly different direction with the company’s latest effort. Now labeled as a “coconut smoothie” and using pasteurization, the product has a more grown up and focused feel (Note: read our full story on the switch -- “Amid a Surge in Distribution, Genius Juice Gets a New Look”).
The product line will eventually feature three flavors: Original, Coffee, and Vanilla. For now, only the Original is available, so that’s what we’re taking a look at today.
The product’s ingredient list is super simple, containing only organic coconut water and organic coconut meat. And what you see is what you get: this product tastes just like what you’d get if you blended the water and meat of the coconut. It’s a big step up from their original offering, which contained coconut milk as an additional ingredient, and it seems like it’s cleaner and a bit smoother than what we remember of their last HPP effort.
From a packaging perspective, the new green label more effectively catches the eye than their prior efforts. You are almost immediately drawn to the “Original Coconut Smoothie,” which is both the flavor name and the descriptor of what’s inside the bottle. Otherwise, they’ve done a nice job of integrating the USDA Organic seal and callouts for the key nutritional benefits (6g of protein and 4g of fiber).
As for dropping “juice” from the name and just calling it “Genius,” we have mixed feelings on that. On the one hand, it’s simpler and less confusing in that coconut smoothies are not going to be viewed as juices by the consumer. On the other hand, it feels that much harder for the company to own “Genius” without another word following it.
Lastly, the one thing that feels as though it’s missing is something that speaks directly to the “why?” of the product. Will consumers drink this because they’re crazy about coconuts? Or is it for the dairy free protein and fiber? From our perspective, connecting the dots a bit more would be helpful in terms of establishing the brand.
Overall, the latest version of Genius feels like a reboot that was somewhat necessary for the brand to make a bigger push. And while the product itself feels improved compared to past efforts, the market around it (namely the super premium juice and smoothie space that’s still HPP heavy when it comes to innovation) has evolved and become more challenging such that our rating for the product is slightly lower this time around.