Review: Picnik Democratizes Butter Coffee
Covers Products: Butter Coffee - Cappuccino, Butter Coffee - Dirty Chai, Butter Coffee - Mocha Latte
We’ve seen a handful of companies attempt to create butter or MCT oil enhanced coffee products, but, whether intentionally or simply because of missteps in their packaging design, most of them have done so with a very technical and educated consumer as their target.
With it’s approachable and clean design and messaging, Picnik, which hails from Austin, Tex., seems poised to change that. Currently available in three flavors, Cappuccino, Mocha Latte, and Dirty Chai, the product is packaged in a 10 oz. bottle that’s fully wrapped with a brightly colored label that features a herringbone style design. The copy is simple and straightforward, with “butter coffee” being the main focal point. Secondary callouts for the protein content (a modest 10g per bottle) and MCT oil are there, but don’t get in the way.
What we like about this approach is that the butter, unlike MCT oil, is something that consumers can understand. Granted, most consumers probably have not mixed butter with their coffee, but it still provides something of a reference point. And making the functionality about protein content, which is what they’ve effectively done by putting it front and center on the label, is also way more tangible than the benefits of MCT. Combine that a beautiful label and we think that Picnik is starting off on the right foot.
As for what’s inside the bottle, which is ultimately what will determine if consumers come back for this product, there’s a high fat formulation that is rich and buttery in flavor. However, these products are not overly viscous, which is definitely a plus. All three of the flavors use maple syrup as their sweetener of choice. Nutritionally, the drinks have 210 - 310 calories per bottle, 17-18g of fat, and 10g of protein.
We started by sampling the Cappuccino variety, which is the lowest in sugar at 1g per bottle and, therefore, the best showcase for the coffee and butter flavors. The Mocha Latte is a riff on a staple RTD coffee flavor. It’s not overly chocolatey, which allows the butter flavor to still be quite dominant. Lastly, there’s the Dirty Chai, which has the most complex flavor of the trio. It’s basically a sweetened latte with chai spices added. After a few sips, this flavor grew on us quickly and made it our favorite of the bunch.
Overall, we really like what Picnik is setting out to do. It’s approachable, flavorful, and on-trend, which are certainly good attributes for any product. On top of that, we think it has meaningful differentiation from other RTD coffee entries that we’re seeing right now and it has some serious visual pop to it. That said, if butter coffee is to become a real part of the coffee category, this product definitely seems well positioned to be a player in it.