Review: Jared’s Probiotics’ Water Kefir Soda
Covers Products: Cherry Kola, Ginger Ale, Lavender Lemonade, Orange Hibiscus, Pro Kola, Root Beer
Jared’s Probiotics comes to us from an Oklahoma City-based company that markets probiotic enhanced food and beverage products.
This line of beverages comes in six different flavors, including Orange Hibiscus, Lavender Lemonade, Pro Kola, Root Beer, Ginger Beer, and Cherry Kola, and it’s their approach to a carbonated soft drink. The products are made in small batches and use high quality ingredients. For example, the Cherry Kola actually contains cherry as well as ingredients such as wild cherry bark and rose hips.
In the case of each flavor, water kefir, which is the source of the probiotic content that they are marketing, is at the heart of the formulation. However, it doesn’t appear to impact the taste of any of the flavors that we sampled. As a result, these products are quite easy to drink and they can all hold their own as far as craft sodas go.
On the other hand, the packaging and branding really need some work. In its current form, it lacks polish and appeal (as well as a proper nutrition facts panel), which, when paired with the product’s somewhat in-your-face message of probiotics, undermines its ability to appeal to the senses -- to the point where we expected the product to taste bad. This even extends to the company’s website, which refers to itself as a “Wikipedia of probiotics and probiotic foods.”
We’re all for having a clear mission and a specific angle to the message, but, in our opinion, the current approach comes at the expense of commercial viability. It’s going to be really hard to get consumers listening to what they are saying without having a product that’s overly appealing. Fortunately, the liquid is quite good, so it’s just a matter of rebranding, redesigning, and dialing in their website. What we’d like to see is something that’s inviting and approachable as opposed to what currently feels serious and preachy.
Furthermore, we think it’s pretty important that the product gain USDA Organic certification. This very much seems like a requirement for any product that’s going to be a serious player in the probiotic space.
In the end, there’s definitely an opportunity for a product like this as it ticks off a lot of boxes but doesn’t have the “acquired taste” that you’ll find in other probiotic beverages like kombucha. If Jared’s can figure out the branding and presentation end of things, we think they might have something with potential for broader success.