Review: Husky Sparkling Coffee Fruit Tea

Posted: Mar 03, 2021 at 1:00 PM (Last Updated: Mar 03, 2021 at 1:19 PM)
Husky Sparkling Coffee Fruit Tea

Covers Products: Grapefruit Sparkling Coffee Fruit Tea, Lemon Sparkling Coffee Fruit Tea, Orange Sparkling Coffee Fruit Tea

Husky is a new line of low calorie sparkling coffee fruit beverages that are offered in three flavors: Lemon, Grapefruit, and Orange. The products are packaged in 12 ounce cans and have 5 calories or less and no added sugar.

The drinks also contain a modest amount of natural caffeine (25mg per can) from the coffee fruit . However, that’s not disclosed on the can and we hope to see it get a mention on the label in the future. 

All three varieties have a very clean and simple list of just three ingredients: sparkling water, fruit juice and coffee fruit. For Lemon, which uses lemon juice, this results in zero calories and 1 gram of sugar. The other two varieties, Grapefruit and Orange, which use grapefruit and orange juices respectively, have 5 calories and 1 gram of sugar. 

The flavors that Husky has created are very straightforward and have a leg up on any sparkling water that’s using flavors rather than juice. The added coffee fruit doesn’t seem to do anything to the flavor, which is a good thing, and we think they’ve created a taste that is very mainstream.

Still, the coffee fruit is a bit of a double-edged sword for Husky. On the one hand, it adds some functionality to a product that is typically devoid of benefits beyond flavor and hydration. However, it also requires education, which is something that has generally been a stumbling point for brands that use coffee fruit. The copy on the back of the can (“Did you know that coffee comes from a fruit?”) acknowledges that the brand is aware of this challenge. 

But there’s one other element that further complicates this: the choice to position the product as a “tea” rather than a water. It looks like a sparkling water and tastes like a sparkling water, so we’d suggest focusing on this category rather than trying to cast it as a sparkling tea. 

Moving on to the packaging, Husky shows some promise, but it also needs some work.  The label features a shrink sleeve that has the Husky logo placed in the middle and oriented vertically so that it runs from top to bottom. It’s the first element that catches your eye and we like how they’ve placed a fruit image behind the “y,” which is precisely where your eye goes when it finishes reading “Husky.”

After that, we found a few things lacking. First and foremost, it’s not easy to quickly figure out what this product is. “Sparkling coffee fruit tea” is wrapped around the fruit image in small type while the flavor name, which uses even smaller type, is below the Husky logo and also running vertically. Plus, your eye has to jump around again to read the various product attributes (including some that are redundant) that are placed at the top and bottom of the can.  

Our first suggestion is a simple one: make everything bigger and easier to read. Beyond that, we’ll reiterate what we previously said about pushing the label copy more towards the sparkling water category and offer up another suggestion that the company explore having the logo run horizontally rather than vertically.

In the end, we really do like what Husky has created -- if the focus is on the sparkling water category. The clean list of ingredients, the high quality flavor, and the touch of caffeine are, in our opinion, enough to give this brand an angle to run with, and it can definitely hold its own against the competition. 

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