Covers Products: Apple Grape, Cherry Lemonade, Mango Pear Lime
Planet Fuel is a line of non-carbonated organic juice beverages that were created with the tween and teen consumer in mind. The product is currently available in three flavors, Cherry Lemonade, Mango Pear Lime, and Apple Grape, all of which are package in 8 oz. sleeve wrapped cans.
In a recent press release, the company stated that they are trying to offer something that is an alternative to the bevvy of unhealthy and uncool beverages that target this age demographic. However, what they are after and what they’ve brought to market do not, at least in our opinion, line up all that well.
First, there’s the liquid. These products are made with water and juice concentrates (14-71 percent). There’s also evaporated cane juice (sugar) in the Cherry Limeade variety. This isn’t really a new concept or something that can’t be found in other beverage lines (particularly juice boxes for kids). Yes, the particular flavor blends are unique, but among the three flavors, we didn’t taste anything that really stood out. They are fine, but far from exceptional, and taste quite similar to what you’ll find in juice boxes that are currently on the market.
This makes the key point of differentiation the packaging and the branding. That’s obviously something that can be, if done right, a reason for a brand to succeed. But in the case of Planet Fuel, we think they’ve missed the mark. For starters, the look and feel of the product leans towards an older demographic. It has a serious and technical vibe due to both the name, which evokes a functional beverage, and the design of the label, which features fruit images, a “splash,” and an easy to miss animal image. It’s hard to see a consumer looking at this and saying “this is a drink for me.”
In its current form, Planet Fuel feels like a product that’s generic and only on trend to the extent that it’s USDA Organic certified. It otherwise feels like it’s lacking meaningful points of differentiation in both flavor and branding. That said, we’re left feeling as though this product can play at a level where it might compete on price, but it’s going to have a difficult time finding a large base of loyal consumers.