Genius Juice, which has made significant strides in the distribution of its organic coconut smoothies, recently unveiled a new look. The revamp comes with a simplified name for the brand, now known simply as “Genius,” and two new flavor varieties.
“Our previous packaging, although sharp and simple, was missing the element of color, which we think we really nailed on the new packaging,” said co-founder Alex Bayer. “Flavor distinction is also very key on store shelves, especially since we [now] have more than one SKU.”
As for the truncated brand name, Bayer said that the company wanted to remove “juice” from the front of its labels, because having both “juice” and “smoothie” was causing some customer confusion.
Genius opted for patience with the release of its new coffee and vanilla protein varieties. Bayer described the company’s approach to line extensions as “quality over quantity,” a strategy that has evolved since the brand’s launch. At one point, it had five flavor varieties and also marketed a coconut water product.
Although the formulation of the smoothies hasn’t changed, Genius swapped high pressure processing (HPP) for pasteurization. Bayer called HPP a processing method that is “not ideal for low-acid coconut formulas such as ours,” and noted a similar reasoning by organic coconut water company Harmless Harvest in its decision to end use of HPP.
The changes come amid big distribution gains for the brand. Genius has secured national distribution with UNFI and Kehe and expanded into several key retailers across the country, including Whole Foods’ Rocky Mountain region, Natural Grocers, Central Market, Akin’s and Chamberlin’s, and Royal Blue Grocery. In June, the brand gained placement in all 36 Earth Fare locations across nine states.
To support the expansion, the company brought on broker Green Spoon Sales for the Rocky Mountain region, Southwest, and Mid-Atlantic. It also partnered with Yin Yang Naturals on the West Coast to support growth in the Southern Pacific, and new accounts in Northern California, including New Leaf and Draeger’s. Bayer called the decision to add brokers as “the best decision we ever made.”
“We get access to more buyer meetings and get our product in their hands to try,” he noted. “We know we have a unique offering, being the first real whole coconut smoothie incorporating coconut water and coconut meat from a young Thai coconut. The biggest hurdle is simply getting it in front of the key people to experience our product and brand.”