Review: Komodo Adds New Flavors and Updated Packaging

Posted: Aug 08, 2018 at 2:49 PM (Last Updated: Aug 08, 2018 at 3:14 PM)

Covers Products: Coconut Water with Mango, Coconut Water with Pineapple, Komodo Energy Drink

Komodo is a line of coconut water-based energy drinks that is designed to be a low calorie offering for “those who care about what they put in their bodies.”

The brand’s revised flavor lineup (Komodo was a single SKU when we first looked at it back in 2016) consists of three SKUs: Original, Pineapple, and Mango. All three are sweetened with a blend of cane sugar and stevia and the end result are formulations that have 50 calories and 12g of sugar per 12 oz can. This places the product squarely in the mid-calorie segment of the space.

From a taste perspective, Komodo is in a good spot and all three of the flavors are enjoyable. The approach of using sugar and stevia has worked quite well and there’s no noticeable sweetener aftertaste.

As with any product that utilizes it as an ingredient, coconut water is a key part of all three flavors. That said, we think that the pure “Original” SKU is the best of the bunch as it offers the cleanest and lightest flavor profile. However, the flavored offerings are quite tasty in their own right and they’ve wisely used tropical flavors that are reminiscent of flavored coconut water offerings.

Each can has 50mg of caffeine, which places it on the lower end of the spectrum as far as the energy drink category goes. It’s actually not that much higher than some CSDs and tea products, which often have about 40mg of caffeine per similarly sized container. Beyond that, the product has added B vitamins to keep its Nutrition Facts panel on par with other brands in the category.

Packaging and overall positioning are, unfortunately, where we think Komodo still struggles. Its original packaging, which was minimalist and a bit lacking in terms of personality, managed to avoid a cliché energy drink look. This revision undoes that and the product now looks like something that’s trying to compete with the likes of Monster. This seems at odds with Komodo’s coconut water base, lower caffeine content, and positioning as a product for people who care what they drink.

And now, in 2018, we ultimately question the viability of a coconut water energy drink. Yes, the larger brands have tried it, but we have seen several startups try to craft a coconut water energy drink as a better-for-you product. This ultimately seems like something that is struggling to stick for two reasons: coconut water isn’t the in vogue product that it once was and there aren’t all that many consumers seeking a healthy energy drink.

In the end, Komodo’s 2018 revision / extension is something that has certainly moved the needle in terms of flavor, but we think the new look has raised some new questions for the brand.


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