Review: Maple Mama
Covers Products: Blueberry Pomegranate, Ginger Lemon, Raspberry Lime, Strawberry Kiwi
Maple Mama is a USDA Organic certified sparkling beverage that is sweetened -- but not flavored -- with maple syrup. Instead, the products come in four fruit-based varieties, including Ginger Lemon, Strawberry Kiwi, Blueberry Pomegranate and Raspberry Lime.
Nutritionally, these products have 70 calories and 16 grams of sugar per 11.5 ounce can. Aside from sparkling water and maple syrup, they each contain fruit juice (amount not disclosed), natural flavors and malic acid.
In essence, Maple Mama is a mid-calorie alternative to soda -- and that’s exactly what they taste like. The drinks are moderately sweet and have a touch of maple flavor that ultimately gives way to some pretty mainstream tasting fruit-based SKUs. We especially liked Raspberry Lime, which is a nice riff on a raspberry lime rickey, and Ginger Lemon, which tastes like a lemon lime soda.
Packaging is, as mentioned earlier, an 11.5 ounce can that has a slim shape to it. Maple Mama is packaged in an 11.5 ounce slim, printed can. Each features a white background with a large abstract silhouette of a female face, with a different color for each flavor. The Maple Mama logo sits near the upper third of the can, which is fine, and they’ve given it a treatment such that “Mama” is what really pops. At the top of the can, there’s a callout for “54 antioxidants” while at the bottom there are pictures of fruit.
From an aesthetic standpoint, it looks clean (especially in comparison to the product’s original design), but we have a couple of thoughts on the approach that they’ve taken.
First, having “maple” in the brand name is something that will probably make the drink appeal to consumers who like maple flavored products. This directly goes against what they are trying to be, which is a maple drink without maple flavor, making this a potentially confusing approach.
Second, we’d suggest a few revisions to the copy on the front of the can. The most important one is the “54 antioxidants” callout, which we think would be better used to highlight calories or another attribute describing the product. Being that specific about the number of antioxidants doesn’t seem like something likely to be helpful (especially when it’s not mentioned elsewhere on the package).
In addition, we think that something beyond “organic sparkling drink” is needed to describe what this product is or what it aspires to be. We’d love to see a more proactive and positive mention of maple on the front of the package beyond just the product name.
Overall, we believe that Maple Mama’s concept of a maple syrup sweetened mid-calorie soda is solid and that the new packaging is a step up from its first version. However, we think there’s still a bit of work left to be done to help consumers get excited about the brand.