Review: Culture Pop Soda
Covers Products: Ginger Lemon 2020 v2, Orange Mango 2020 v2, Watermelon 2020 v2, Wild Berry 2020 v2
Launched this spring by a trio of industry veterans, Culture Pop is a line of mid calorie sugar sweetened sodas that are uniquely flavored and enhanced with probiotics.
The initial lineup includes four flavors: Orange Mango Chili & Lime, Wildberry & Peppercorn, Ginger Lemon & Turmeric and Watermelon Lime & Rosemary.
The products are, as mentioned earlier, sweetened with cane sugar and contain 40 calories, 3-5% juice, and 9 grams of added sugar per 12 ounce can. This puts them well below a standard CSD and in line with other better-for-you sparkling beverages.
In addition, since this product isn’t using any zero calorie sweeteners, it definitely has a leg up in the taste department over some of its competitors. Since the calories and sugar content are relatively modest, we don’t think it will be a terribly hard sell to get consumers on board.
Plus, there’s the benefit of the added probiotics, which we think is a very mainstream and well understood functional ingredient.
When it comes to flavor, Culture Pop’s advantage isn’t just about sugar: they’ve created some really nice flavor pairings that give your palate something that’s both immediately familiar and also has a twist.
Lemon Ginger Turmeric, for example, starts with some sharp citrus flavor and finishes with a hit of spice from the added ginger and turmeric. A similar approach can be found in both Wildberry & Peppercorn and Orange Mango Chili & Lime, both of which start out sweet and end with a note of spice. Last but not least is Watermelon Lime & Rosemary, which has a very summery flavor that ends with a floral note of rosemary.
Culture Pop has also done a really good job with the product packaging. This starts with the name, an obvious play on “pop culture” which is both intuitive and memorable. Combine this with the bright and colorful labels and the fruit image that’s front and center and we think that this is definitely a brand with the potential for broad appeal.
As for the label copy, it contains a fair amount of text, but the execution is such that your eyes go right to the important parts. The reason for this is quite simple: black is used for the most important text elements while an accent color (specific to each flavor) is used for the secondary elements.
The only piece of constructive feedback we have is to provide something on the back that explains the probiotic content. But this feels like a very minor thing that only certain consumers will care about.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, Culture Pop has come out of the gate strong and is ready for primetime.