Naked Juice Removes Supplements, Now Just Boring Juice

Bryan, a longtime Naked Juice customer, noticed that that Strawberry Kiwi Kick brand he always bought had a different colored cap. He writes, “Alas, the ‘Kick’ is no more. Gone are the supplements, including plain ol’ Vitamin C. Strawberry Kiwi Kick is just fruit juice.” When he contacted them to complain, they responded that their “devotees” preferred it that way, and they sent him a coupon and a temporary tattoo. Because if there’s anything that says “we take your input seriously,” it’s a temporary tattoo. (Or maybe they’re trying to tell him what they expect of real devotees.)

Bryan writes:

I was grocery shopping last weekend when I noticed that the bottle for Naked Juice’s “Strawberry Kiwi Kick” had a different-colored cap. This is my favorite Naked Juice product, thanks to the added guarana, green tea and B vitamins, so I was paying enough attention to notice that something on the bottle had changed. Curious, I picked up a bottle to see if this meant a change to what was IN the bottle.

Alas, the “Kick” is no more. Gone are the supplements, including plain ol’ Vitamin C. Strawberry Kiwi Kick is just fruit juice.

I contacted Naked Juice through their Web site to ask them what happened to the Kick part of the beverage. After all, the “Kick” branding seems to imply a boost from the supplements, just like the “Motion” in Orange Mango Motion or the “Rush” in Black & Blueberry Rush, etc, each of which also used to contain energetic supplements. I told them that if the supplements have been removed permanently, I’d be skipping their brand altogether and buying an organic energy drink and fresh fruit instead.

Naked responded with some rah-rah about how their “devotees” preferred a focus on the quality of the juices rather than on the boosts. A full copy of our correspondence is forwarded below. They also mailed me a coupon for a free 15.2 ounce bottle of the Naked Juice flavor of my choice (used on a classic-formula bottle of SKK, still available from a few local retailers who apparently don’t turn their stock as often) and, for some reason, a temporary tattoo of the Naked Juice logo.

Here’s part of the response Bryan received:

As you seem to have noticed, our Energy flavors are now a part of our Well Being family of juices. We changed the ingredients in our Energy flavors, including Strawberry Kiwi Kick, which makes them a better fit for the Well Being family. You can check out our changes to the former Energy drinks at the following web address (just click on “Our Juices”): [link to nakedjuice website]

We made the decision to change the formula based on feedback from our devotees who said we should focus more on the juices and less on the boosts. We’ll share your comments with our marketing team and let them know that you’d like us to reintroduce the Energy formula.

Bryan points out that the prices for the drinks remain the same. “[There’s] no discount in price to reflect the elimination of several ingredients. Of course, I’m sure they’d explain it by saying the remaining juice is of a higher quality than what they were using before.”

Comments

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  1. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Wow, so now they’re going to keep charging $4 for a little bottle of liquid that is either extremely runny or kind of like sewer sludge?

    There are a few of the company’s juices I actually like, but it’s so hit or miss when trying new ones. Their orange juice is terrible, and their strawberry is great. But their berry is terrible and so thick, even though there’s no indication it’s a smoothie of any kind.

    • korybing says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: I was just thinking the same thing. The only thing that sort-of justified the price for the Naked juices were that they had some sort of supplement in them. Now it’s just really expensive and kinda gross juice.

    • henwy says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: @korybing:

      It never made any sense to me that it would have additives. Doesn’t the whole point of calling yourself ‘naked juice’ sort of imply that it’s, well, natural? I would that meant nothing added to it from sugar to all sorts of weird hippie crap.

      • Megan Squier says:

        @henwy: Agreed. I don’t buy stuff like this because actual fruits and vegetables are a better nutritional bargain than processed juice with vitamins added. Plus, I mainly drink water or homemade iced tea at home because the cost of actual bottled beverages is a little steep. Our tap water is pretty good so bottled water is a waste aside from when we go hiking.

      • korybing says:

        @henwy: When I was younger and dumber and believed package labeling I assumed that “naked” meant “natural” supplements rather than all the chemical additives found in other energy drinks. Like the add-ons at a smoothie bar.

        • henwy says:

          @korybing: The word ‘all natural’ usually gives me the willies. It’s just amazing that people have been brainwashed to believe that natural somehow means harmless or worse, good for you. Hell, arsenic is all natural. So is all sorts of other things that could easily croak you.

          • madamdalriada says:

            @henwy: My family gets tired of me saying “Oh it says natural, well poop is natural. Does it have poop in it?”

            • henwy says:

              @madamdalriada:

              You’re fighting the good fight there but you’re losing. Every day I see some other moron step up to the counter of, all natrual? It must be good for me! It’s no wonder that every company has started advertising their products as all natural.

  2. Radi0logy says:

    I love it when companies inanely explain away increasingly smaller sizes, degradation of quality of goods and removal of ingredients with the “our customers demanded it!!” catchall. As if there are cadres of angry consumers roving the countryside demanding them to lower the quality of their goods. The fact that they think anyone believes their crap is only slightly less unsettling than the nagging thought in the back of my head that there are people out there that really do believe it.

  3. floraposte says:

    What’s the difference between “100% juice” and “100% juice smoothie”? The fact that the latter apparently allows for ingredients that aren’t juice?

    • Skankingmike says:

      @floraposte: speaking as a lactose intolerant person, it simply means it has milk in it. usually the first or second ingredient.

    • farcedude says:

      @floraposte: As far as I can tell, the only non-juice ingredients are either from the fruits being pureed (resulting in thick nature) or ‘natural flavors’ (no telling on that one, although it’s probably just vitamin c).

    • edwardso says:

      @floraposte: their smoothie blends are thicker and have pulp

  4. edwardso says:

    I don’t usually like the added vitamins in things because it alters the flavor, but I do sympathize with having a favorite product discontinued (I miss you honest tea gold rush cinnamon and chai)

  5. Drew5764 says:

    I almost never find a reason to blame the OP, but the complaint is that something called “Naked” beverages don’t have additives? Seems like they’re making strides to being exactly as they’re branded. Nevermind the snake oil that guarana/B vitamin supplements are.

    • korybing says:

      @Drew5764: I don’t know the reasons for the OP liking the drink, but a few years back I would drink them because I didn’t like soda or coffee or tea and most “energy” drinks were horrible, so I was trying other “energy” type things in an attempt to get an extra boost into my system somehow, and the only reason I dropped four bucks a bottle on Naked juice was because I was under the impression that it had extra supplements that would help keep me awake during class. The “Naked” to me implied natural stimulants rather than chemical stimulants.

      These were the days before I actually learned that all that stuff is crap, though.

    • GMFish says:

      @Drew5764: “Seems like they’re making strides to being exactly as they’re branded

      Agreed. Here’s an instance where a company is trying to live up to its name, i.g., sell naked juice which is actually naked, and yet people still complain about it. If you don’t like what someone is selling, don’t buy it! God, how easy is that?!

      • eb0nyknight says:

        @GMFish: But that’s not the complaint. It was originally a juice with supplements. Just because it now seems an “appropriate” name, is not germane to the point.

        The company tried to quietly change it’s formulation to include less of what they were originally known to sell and still charge the same amount.

        As for don’t buy it, then advertise or at least clearly label that you are changing the product so that the consumer can make an informed decision.

        This type of deceptive practice is what the Consumerist is here to expose. Jeez….

      • Cat_In_A_Hat says:

        @GMFish: The OP states that the company is not living up to the promise of the name of the individual flavors. Hence the term “kick” in Starberry Kiwi Kick no longer has the “kick” which was found in the added supplements. He has a valid point on this issue since Naked juice has yet to alter the name names of the flavors that had their supplements pulled from the ingredients.

  6. morganlh85 says:

    It’s rather sneaky that the price is still the same. Would anyone pay $3 for an 8 ounce can of Red Bull if it were just nasty yellow pop? Nope.

    • mocena says:

      @morganlh85: But… it /is/ just nasty yellow pop…

      • DogiiKurugaa says:

        @mocena: I wouldn’t even describe it as pop… Has anyone ever had Minute Maid Lite Lemonade? Its like that, except watered down to make it taste worse.

        • shepd says:

          @DogiiKurugaa:

          I wouldn’t say it tastes so bad! I liken it to coffee, you have to develop a taste for it.

          Besides, I find the flavour and kick of Red Bull weak. NOS is my personal fav. :) Co-workers have said “It tastes like METAL” and “Is there any drink in here? It tastes of CHEMICALS!” or “Are you sure this isn’t poison?”

          Of course, I also prefer Diet Coke, for the flavour. So maybe my taste buds have simply rotted off.

        • Robobot says:

          @DogiiKurugaa: Watered down minute maid lite lemonade with essence of stale Smarties candy. Mmmm, tastes like money!

        • trujunglist says:

          @DogiiKurugaa:

          It tastes kind of like carbonated water with skittle flavoring.. like they soak batches of skittles in it and then dump a crapload of caffeine.
          I really hate energy drink flavors. As a kid, my friend and I would drink as much soda as possible and stay up all night and beyond just for fun. One time we each drank a 3 liter of Mt. Dew. Another time, we got a bottle of no-doz and if you can OD on it (which I believe is possible, but only in extremely large amounts) then I nearly did that. Now I can’t stand caffeine other than maybe 1 or 2 sodas in a day’s worth of time. Otherwise, I feel a very shallow, nervous energy that drives me nuts. I’ve definitely grown to appreciate the lack of caffeine after doing that stuff as a teenager. I think it ruined me on it.

  7. zandar says:

    While I wholeheartedly agree with Radi0logy’s sentiments about corporations and their webs of rationalization, I can also see the point of a juice calling itself “naked” eschewing any additions to the natural goodness of the juice.

    IF it is good, recent, and not from concentrate, it is better for you than any supplemented juice- and if they were supplementing to begin with, chances are their product is none of the above. Studies have shown that our tendency to strip foods of natural health benefits in the food for the sake of industrial convenience, and then supplement it with vitamin and mineral powders to make up for it, can actually cause adverse interactions with medicines. This is not a health food, at this point.

    Your best bet is to take some strawberries and kiwi, wash then thoroughly, and make your own super-duper-naked juice. Buy a fancy bottle to put it in if it makes you feel better. Leave the premade concoctions which have been manufactured in god only knows what way where they belong- on the shelf.

    • Trae says:

      @zandar: Honestly, I get tired of people who say “Make Your Own.” I do not have the TIME to make my own. That’s the entire reason I *buy* premade things.

  8. farcedude says:

    I dunno, it might be just me, but I actually prefer them without the boosts. Part of that is because I don’t like my food trying to medicate me (“Now fortified with *insert nutrient deemed newly essential here*”).

    • lpranal says:

      @farcedude: I’ll second that. How about buy some locally grown fruits and veggies from a farmer’s market / local grocer that haven’t been factory farmed in depleted soil, and not stripped of nutrients? For a “boost” add some whey protein, organic cage-free eggs (safe to eat raw) and / or flax seed?

  9. Kelly Lum says:

    IMO the big pull of these bottled smoothie things is that that they have supplements, just like the “mix-ins” you get at any juice bar. How else can they justify charging $4 for what is essentially 32oz of really pulpy fruit juice?

  10. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Meanwhile, Naked will continue to charge $4 for an 8 oz. bottle made in a shape that refuses to conform properly to any cupholder!

    • Ubik2501 says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: Thankfully, Dominick’s has been charging only $4 for the 32 oz. bottles that I like to keep around. A lot of their juices might be pretty average, but I likes me some Blue Machine. The regular-size bottles are pretty damn overpriced, to be sure.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Naked was acquired by Pepsi a little while back, and the real purpose was to expand their refrigerated drink distribution Network out West. This is probably all part of a scale back or combination between Naked and Tropicana.

  12. HiPwr says:

    I like the temporary tattoo idea, though. I wonder if the government will be giving those out in lieu of tax refunds next year.

  13. Cliff_Donner says:

    So somehow a temporary tattoo is supposed to fix this? What happens when it wears off? Seems liked Naked should be springing for a real, permanent tattoo here.

  14. Coyote says:

    Somehow I think when/if this company goes under they will inevitability blame the customers, economy, current president, state of orange groves. But they will not once realize that screwing over your customer, raising costs while lowering quality (which is exactly what the “shrink ray” is, there’s no denying it), and generally lying is bad for business.

  15. wheresmymind says:

    It sucks that his favorite product was discontinued, but I don’t see how the company’s response was anything less than satisfactory. He got a free bottle of juice out of it (I assume he didn’t buy the juice at the store when he realized the change in formulation) plus a silly tattoo. The company did some market research and discovered that most of the people buying their all-natural hippy-drinks were into natural, fresh fruit juices more than the gimmicky “supplements” they were adding.
    As for the issue of the pricing not reflecting the fact that they’re no longer adding these chemicals, what do you expect? I hate to burst your bubble but did it not occur to you that a $4 pint of juice might already carry a ridiculous markup? That these supplements are present in milligram or microgram amounts and likely make up a small amount of the cost of ingredients? Diet, caffeine free, and regular sodas cost the same retail, yet surely these three products don’t cost exactly the same amount to produce.

  16. nakedscience says:

    @Drew5764: “but the complaint is that something called “Naked” beverages don’t have additives?”

    Uh. They USED TO HAVE ADDITIVES.

  17. Quilt says:

    Temperary tatoos? You can call me a Naked Juice from here on in.

  18. Geekmom says:

    Well, I thought it tasted different when I bought the Blue Machine flavor a few weeks ago. I guess it vanished off the shelves when they changed the recipe. I don’t think I’ll be buying this any more. I liked having the supplements in it. It’s too expensive for just juice.

    The bottle looks almost exactly the same. I didn’t even notice they took them out. There should be mention of it.

  19. Geekmom says:

    Oh for those commenting about the supplements shouldn’t matter, the juice bottle used to make a big deal about the supplements. It was called “naked” because it was organic, not because they didn’t add things to the juice. By 100% juice they meant they didn’t have 10% juice and 90% water like a lot of “juice” not that they don’t add other things to it.

  20. Malkin says:

    PepsiCo acquired Nake Juice at the beginning of 2007. It seems like changes like this often happen when Pepsi or Coke buy another beverage line. Slowly but surely, the products get changed and diluted, till whatever it was that made them good in the first place is gone.

  21. Steverino Begins says:

    Did they mess with Blue Machine? It’s my fiber booster (14 grams). I also like Red Machine since it has the added Omega 3. Really, if they’re not adding those boosters it’s just overpriced juice.

    Who are these stupid “devotees”? Their cheap production managers?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Hello all: I work at Naked Juice, and wanted to make sure everyone understands what we have changed.
    1) We removed the vitamin boosts from our pure fruit smoothies — simplifying the ingredients, ensuring everything is all natural, 100% pure fruit. We think that fruit is better Naked.
    2) We maintained the vitamins and other boosts in our “Machine” line — if you are looking for fortification – have a Machine. No changes there.
    3) We have invested in our fruit: more Mango in Mighty Mango, 22 Strawberries in Strawberry Banana, AND we’ve begun sourcing 100% of our bananas as Rainforest Alliance Certified (bananas are in 80% of our products). These bananas are more expensive, but good for the workers and the planet, and we’re the first U.S. juice company to do this.
    4) Yes, we did take out the guarana from the Energy line. We do not feel that guarana has a role in Naked Juice — in fact, many people would drink the Energy line and not realize there was guarana in it, or worse, give it to their children. We did realize that a few of you would be upset, but we thought if we changed the label from “Energy” to “Well Being” , that people would understand the change. Duly noted, and we will change the product names soon, we are not trying to fool anyone.
    5) As always, we are 100% juice products, no added sugar, no preservatives, just the best bare-naked fruit.
    If you have any questions, comments, want to talk to me directly, please email amy@nakedjuice.com.

  23. juiceguy says:

    ZanAstraeus or Naked juice employee,

    If you think that “fruit is better Naked”, then why would you have an entire line that includes fortification in the form of Boosts?

    If you feel like guarana doesn’t have a role in Naked Juice, then why did you build an entire line of energy juice products around that concept? Is it not a good idea because it didn’t meet your sales goals? Seemed like a good idea to you back then when you launched it, no?

    Aren’t you misleading consumers by telling everyone that you have numbers of whole fruits in the bottle? Many of your juices contain concentrates, and I’m not sure that’s equivalent to eating the same amount of real fruits, with the fiber and pulp and all

    This all sounds like a bunch of corporate speak to me

  24. Jay Michael Weiner says:

    Yes, they messed with blue machine, it contains more apple and banana and less blackberries and blueberries. They did that last year, and I haven’t bought ANY of the new formula.