Jamba, O.N.E. Launching Branded RTD Smoothie

Adding coconut water to smoothies has fast become an easy way to brands to drop their caloric content while upping their nutritional quotient, along with adding, due to the increasing popularity of the trendy product, a “sip of hip.”

So far this year, the three major juice fresh RTD juice companies, Bolthouse Farms, PepsiCo-owned Naked Juice and Coke-helmed Odwalla have all rolled out new varieties of product lines featuring their thick whole-fruit juices mixed with coconut water.

BevNET has confirmed that plans are now in place for an early-2011 launch of a fourth: a ready-to-drink smoothie made by Jamba Juice utilizing coconut water provided by O.N.E., which will receive co-branding on the package. The new product will provide both companies with high-profile line extensions into new product lines: for Jamba, it creates a place in-store for its core smoothie competency; for O.N.E., it provides visibility for a brand that is in a competitive three-way sprint to become the face of a still-evolving category.

The 16 oz. Tetra-Pak line – preliminary flavors include Stawberry-Banana, “Super Green” and Tropical Mango – will be distributed nationally through PepsiCo and will also be available on a to-go basis from Jamba Juice stores, according to a source with knowledge of the arrangement.

Neither O.N.E. nor Jamba Juice would comment on the smoothie line. Jamba has made it a corporate priority of late to focus on ready-to-drink rather than its traditional on-premise smoothie business. The company recently announced it would be offering a line of all-juice energy drinks in partnership with Nestle, an organization that it has worked with in the past. But the new venture, with PepsiCo and with O.N.E., which is itself partly-owned by the soft drink giant, would create a wide distribution network for this push into the off-premise market.

The strategy of co-branding key ingredients has worked well in the natural products channel in the past. Sambazon and Guayaki have both put their brands, as well as their specific acai and yerba mate, on the ingredient panels of other products, lending both co-marketing heft and a bit of branding legitimacy to their partners.