We were on a recent shopping trip to Walmart. But this time, something was different. It wasn’t at our typical location in central Ohio, but rather in the rural outskirts of Tennessee. True, we had been to that very location before, as guests in my wife’s parents’ house. But this time…it was as permanent residents! That’s right…we live in Tennessee now.
Anyway, my son lured me to the yogurt aisle, which is usually the only way I end up in the yogurt aisle. He ended up opting for Danimals, yet again. I wanted something a little more…adult. And nothing screams “adult” more than an odd collection of fruits and veggies: Enter Great Value Strawberry Carrot Beet Smoothie.
If I’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s that the weirder the combination, the better the end result tends to be. Maybe it’s just because I go in with lowered expectations, but whatever the reason, weird products seem to impress me more often than not. There are exceptions to the rule – some products that look and sound gross simply are – but enough of them have exceeded my expectations to encourage me to keep trying them.
Based on my initial observations (picture me donning a monocle as I open the bottle), I have to say it looks like a raspberry smoothie. This observation is based on the color of the slightly-hardened liquid, which is a shade of…raspberry. But that isn’t really bizarre on its own: Beyond their horrid taste, beets are notorious for their deep color. It’s no surprise it would turn this concoction into a dark pinkish hue.
What is fairly bizarre is that It tastes like raspberry. And that sweet, very tart taste is kind of a curiosity, considering it’s a typical descriptor of none of the listed ingredients. Beets are earthy and…gross. Strawberries can be tart, but that would mean they’re unripe. And carrots? Well, I don’t think anyone has ever described a plain carrot as “tangy”. So then where is all this “sour” coming from?
Just to be sure I wasn’t crazy, I had my wife do a blind taste test. Well, I let her see, but didn’t tell her what she was drinking. She said it smelled like “baby food” – an out-of-left-field analysis that I wasn’t expecting. However, after tasting it, she confidently said, “That’s raspberry.” When I revealed the actual contents, she was dismissive, saying, “They got it wrong. That’s raspberry.” She also added how it was mislabeled and they were trying to make it sound more exotic and healthy than it actually was. As usual, she read my mind. Case closed.
The concoction contains 53% juice, which is a decent amount for an inexpensive smoothie. And I would definitely classify this as a smoothie: Some products that call themselves “smoothies” are essentially just glorified juice. These won’t convince you they’re from a hip, local smoothie shop, but as far as supermarket smoothies go, I’d say they’re thicker than some others I’ve tried. Also, keep in mind these are made to be guzzled from a bottle, rather than sucked through a straw, so a thinner consistency is virtually required.
This one’s kind of hard for me to assign some arbitrary number to. On the one hand, it’s actually good, and something I would get again with little hesitation. On the other hand, it’s not even close to the “unique” flavor experience I was opening myself up to. If I saw it on the shelf – and I’m sure I will again at some point – I wouldn’t think, “Hmm, I’m in the mood for something different, so I’m going to get this again.” I’d think, “Oh yeah, that raspberry smoothie was good.”
To be fair, there is no actual raspberry in it. It really does contain the juice (and purees) listed. I suppose it’s somewhat impressive that such disparate flavors can combine to form something that tastes like something completely different. But on the other hand, you can’t tell me that the default flavor of two veggies and one…one…berry equals raspberry. They couldn’t have just added more of an ingredient or two to make it taste more distinctive? Upped the carrot to balance things out with more veggies?
Or, perhaps even better, just made a goddamned raspberry smoothie?
Overall: 5.5/10. Let me be clear here: This is actually good. It’s also pretty affordable, with each 7 oz. bottle retailing for a mere $1.18. So then, why the low score? Because this is a raspberry smoothie. Let’s just call it what it is. Cut out the implications of “unique” or “complex” flavors insinuated by the title. To be fair, there is no actual raspberry in it, so I guess it’s kind of impressive that a combination of one fruit and two veggies could come even close to a completely different fruit. But there’s no way you can convince me that this was the “default” flavor profile that resulted from the titular concoction. If I specifically wanted a raspberry smoothie, I would have gotten a goddamned raspberry smoothie.