Review: REBBL Pop

Posted: Sep 15, 2021 at 12:23 PM (Last Updated: Sep 15, 2021 at 4:49 PM)

Covers Products: Blackberry- POP, Ginger Lime - POP, Mandarin Orange- POP, Root Beer- POP

REBBL Pop is a new USDA Organic “sparkling prebiotic soda” that is the latest line extension from a company that to date has been known for their functional plant-based beverages. The product line, which is perishable and requires refrigeration, joins a growing number of brands that have expanded into the better-for-you CSD space known as “Pop.”

The line is launching in four flavors: Blackberry, Ginger Lime, Root Beer and Mandarin Orange. The fruit flavored SKUs contain added juice (ranging from 3% to 11%), which serves as both a flavoring and sweetener, as well as coconut nectar, monk fruit and stevia. The Root Beer SKU contains no fruit juice but does contain the same sweetener blend as the others. 

The end result is that the products have a modest 45-50 calories and 5 grams of sugar per 12 ounce can. This, combined with added prebiotics (organic acacia), puts it in the same ballpark as other carbonated beverages that are being marketed as next-gen “Pop.” 

Let’s take a look at the flavor profile of each SKU:

  • Mandarin Orange: Featuring 11% juice from a combination of tangerine, mandarin orange, and lemon, this one has a bright citrus flavor that’s quite gulpable and does a really nice job of masking the monk fruit and stevia sweeteners.

  • Blackberry: This tart variety is full of berry flavor thanks to7% juice from blackberry and pomegranate. Like Mandarin Orange, the full-bodied fruit flavor hides the sweeteners quite nicely and, as a result, the product tastes like a full calorie product even though it isn’t.

  • Ginger Lime: While it contains 3% juice from lemon and lime juices, Ginger Lime drinks more like a traditional CSD than the prior two flavors. What you have here appears to be their riff on a ginger ale -- and a spicy one at that. The core flavors are good, but there’s a bit too much sweetener aftertaste at the finish.

  • Root Beer: This is the only SKU that doesn’t contain fruit juice and is the most literal translation of an existing CSD that you’ll find in the line. With a rich and creamy body and nice pleasant vanilla notes, this definitely tastes like a high quality root beer. You can still taste a bit of the sweeteners, but not so much that it gets in the way of enjoyment.

For the product’s packaging, REBBL has gone with a 12 ounce slim can with a label wrapped around the body that leaves exposed areas at the top and bottom. A shrink sleeve label (or ultimately a printed can, though we realize there are supply chain constraints right now) would definitely look better, in our opinion.

The design of the label is centered around the REBBL logo, which literally sits in the middle of the can. To make the word “Pop,” they’ve placed a large P to the top left of the REBBL logo and another one to the lower right of it. Unfortunately, it’s one of those logos that’s readable only if you know what it’s supposed to say. If you don’t, we think your eye might go searching around the label.

The rest of the label is filled with key product attributes, including a callouts for organic certification and sugar content, and some copy about digestive health and immunity, while the flavor name is near the bottom and the product description (“sparkling prebiotic tonic”) is at the literal bottom. Overall, the layout  feels like it could benefit from a clearer hierarchy.

On that same note, the package is missing a key element: something that quantifies the prebiotic content (presumably the added organic acacia). Typically, this comes in the form of dietary fiber on the nutrition facts panel, but that’s missing on these products. If nothing else, this will make it hard for a label reading consumer to gauge this product against the competition.

Overall, we like the notion of REBBL moving into the sparkling space and the “Pop” category seems like a good place to do it right now. However, we think that the brand needs to both work on the branding and consider moving to a shelf stable offering if they want to compete in a big way.

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