Review: Genius Gets a Reboot for 2017
Covers Products: Vanilla Superfood Smoothie 12oz, Coffee Superfood Smoothie 12oz, Original Superfood Smoothie 12oz
Having originally started as a line of coconut-based juices before eventually morphing into a line of coconut smoothies, Genius is no stranger to innovating and evolving their product lineup and branding. But their latest retrench is the most drastic yet: Genius is no longer a coconut-based beverage.
Instead, the company has recast its product line as a line of USDA Organic “Superfood Smoothies.” The product focus is now on protein content (12g per bottle), which comes from some of the product’s dairy-free ingredients such as pea protein and quinoa powder. In addition, the product features almond milk, maca powder, oats, coconut syrup and coconut sugar (the only remaining coconut ingredients).
On the surface, adding “superfood” and touting the product’s protein content seems like something that casts a wider net for Genius. However, there will be a challenge -- although it’s hard to tell if it’s a large or small one -- when it comes to reeducating existing retailers and consumers.
Part of this is due to the fact that the packaging hasn’t changed all that much -- the design is largely the same as what they had with their last round of coconut smoothies. With this design, which features a playful and bold look that definitely catches the eye, it would be hard to justify another overhaul.
From a taste perspective, the experience of these new products is completely different from anything that Genius has produced before. All three flavors are rich and smooth, with a heavy oat flavor. There’s a mild amount of sweetness and a touch of salt, while the pea protein is something that you can really only taste at the finish. We’ll admit that these flavors took a few sips to get used to, but we found them enjoyable as we continued to drink them.
However, when it comes to their choice of flavorings and the execution of them, there’s still some work to do. This starts with the Original variety, which is so similar to the Vanilla (it even contains vanilla extract) that it seems somewhat unnecessary. Replacing this with Chocolate, which is the obvious flavor missing from the bunch, would really help. As for the Vanilla and Coffee varieties, they are much more along the lines of where the flavor should be, although further dialing up their flavorings would really help. In the end, the Vanilla variety was the clear winner for us.Genius’ change of approach is one that we think puts the brand on a much better path to success. Yes, there are still a few kinks to work out, but we think they have a nice framework to move forward with.