If there’s one way to catch my attention, just put “smoothie” somewhere on a product’s packaging. I don’t know why, but it always seems to work. I’m a big fan of smoothies, even though I rarely get them. I mean, what’s not to like? They’re basically fruit milkshakes. You get the creaminess of a shake, in a (generally) healthier package.
However, nothing loses my attention quicker than something that costs too much. Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of “smoothie” products lose me. It seems to be one of those marketing keywords that immediately grant the manufacturer’s “carte blanche” when setting the price. You know what I’m talking about. Take the word “organic”, for example. Add that to anything, and you can increase the price by 25%. Another good example is “keto”…and the list could probably go on and on. Smoothie prices might not be as blatantly inflated as the previous examples, but they’re almost always expensive.
Of all places, that’s where Kroger steps in. They seem to be one of the few chains that offer drinkable private label yogurt products, up to and including “smoothies”. Like this blend of three different berries that I just had to try. They are generally also shockingly affordable: The smoothies in their Carbmaster line of products are frequently on sale for $1 each (per 10 oz. bottle). Unfortunately, that excellent pricing didn’t translate to this smoothie, which cost double that for the same ounces. Still, $1.99 is somewhat reasonable in this day and age.
As expected, this has a yogurt-based texture. This makes sense considering that’s generally the foundation for a typical smoothie. What’s most important is that the consistency is creamy and smooth. Some other yogurt-based smoothies frequently have a “chalkiness” that can creep in. Kroger’s is completely devoid of that, which will be a good thing for most people.
I must confess that the flavor is a little underwhelming to me. I mean, I definitely wasn’t expecting an aggressive punch to the tastebuds, but I was expecting something a little stronger. Mainly because this isn’t just a single fruit flavor, but rather a combination of several berries. Shouldn’t something that has more than one of something, be stronger than something that has only one flavor? I mean sure, it obviously depends on how much of each thing is added. But it seems like they used an eyedropper to measure the juice content that went into this.
It’s almost like the base itself is the main flavor profile. There’s just this mass of lightly-flavored milkiness, with the berries following behind. Like they were late to the flavor bus. To be clear, the taste is neither offensive, nor bad. It’s just suppressed; there’s not enough of it, given the price.
This is somewhat shocking, considering each bottle contains a respectable 54% juice. (I actually thought the juice content would be much lower.) Apple is the main one, followed up by some actual berries: blue, rasp, and straw, to be exact (and in that order). There aren’t a lot of other ingredients, save for ones that (presumably) provide the “smoothielike” texture. It doesn’t seem like the berries should play such a reduced role in the equation.
In the end, it’s drinkable. But it’s also very boring, and not something most people are going to be eager to ever experience again.
Overall: 5.5/10. This is a rather underwhelming smoothie at a rather underwhelming price. The texture is actually pretty spot-on, managing to be creamy, without hints of underlying graininess. The issue is that the taste is more muted than it should be. The berries are noticeable and add sweetness to the mix, but don’t stand front and center, as one would expect. They’re buried underneath other flavors, one of which might be apple juice (which is higher up on the ingredients list than the other berries). It’s drinkable, but doesn’t offer up enough “excitement” to justify the $1.99 price tag.