Saturday, July 11, 2015

Nature's Nectar Super Green Smoothie (Aldi)


I promise you it does not taste like sewer water, as its look would suggest.
Aldi has always been a great place to buy private label brands, often made in the same factories as the major ones, all for a fraction of the price.  However, as more and more national brands make their way into Aldi stores, I can’t help but feel a slight sense of, for lack of better term, betrayal.  For example, Aldi used to have a huge pallet filled with their off-brand sports drinks (Infuse), which were just as good as the more expensive stuff.  But now, it’s the national brands with the huge pallet, while Infuse gets sequestered into a tiny shelf space.  Ditto that for their sodas, which have now been replaced with large displays of Coke.  While I don’t think for a second that Aldi will eventually abandon their lower price goods, in favor of becoming just another supermarket (after all, it is their private-label business that has gotten them as far as they have come to begin with), it’s still somewhat alarming to see such a large percentage of available floorspace taken over with national brand products.

For the most part, I pass them all up (save for the one time I fell for it, and accidentally purchased the name brand Honey Nut O’s cereal, because I did not think to double-check that it was actually the Aldi brand); but a couple brands they started carrying did start getting constant rotation through the Tom family refrigerator: Namely, Bolthouse Farms and Naked juices.  While the Naked juices are offered for around the same price as they are in supermarkets (a 32 oz. bottle retails for $3.99 at Aldi), it was Bolthouse products that have seen the steepest discounts, with 32 oz. bottles retailing for just $2.95, a price most markets have the 16 oz. bottles for.  After trying the bottle my wife picked up once, I became addicted, and there is almost always a bottle of Green Goodness in our fridge, while my wife fell in love with the Naked Mango smoothie.

I didn’t think I’d ever see the day, but I nearly jumped with excitement upon seeing that Nature’s Nectar, Aldi’s own private label brand that specializes in juice drinks, were releasing their own versions of Bolthouse’s Green Goodness and Mango drinks.  I made sure to pick both of them up as soon as I saw them.

The bottle itself is different, shaped more like a plastic carafe, and pretty unassuming; the fruit list, which is so prominently displayed on the national brand bottles, is confined to small print on the back label.  It retails for $2.49, roughly fifty cents cheaper than the national brand, which is always offered, at least at our location.  Just like Bolthouse, there is no sugar added, the ingredients comprised almost entirely of fruits and vegetables.  So you can tell what it’s supposed to be mimicking from the outside, but how does it transfer to taste?

Not surprisingly, pretty well.  I did detect that Nature’s Nectar’s version was sweeter; I thought it was just slightly so, but the disgusted look on my wife’s face after trying it seems to suggest it was a lot moreso than I perceived.  Still, it wasn’t enough to bother me, and once the sweetness falters, the rest of the taste is pretty spot-on.  I would love to describe the flavor, for people who have never tried it before, but that can be kind of hard; it doesn’t taste like any one juice, but somehow manages to be a refreshing conglomeration of several juices (as well as weird ingredients like spinach, garlic, and artichokes, which of course aren’t obvious factors on the taste).  I did find the aftertaste to be slightly more noticeable here; it’s nowhere near pungent, but tastes a little weirder than Bolthouse’s version.

So, will I start buying the Aldi brand, if it is made available all the time?  That’s a simple question that’s not so simple in practice, because I can’t honestly say for sure one way or the other.  For the first time I can recall, I’ve really taken to the national brand, so even though Aldi’s version comes pretty darn close, I’m not sure the two-quarter discount will be enough to sway me.  Maybe the bigger question is: If Aldi feels they’ve found a suitable replacement, will they stop carrying the national brand products?  If they do, that will make my decision a whole lot easier.

Overall: 8/10.  Aside from some extra sweetness (which, like the original beverage, is derived from fruit; there is no sugar added), and a slightly more bizarre aftertaste, this is a very accurate knockoff of Bolthouse Farms’ Green Goodness juice beverage, which is one of my favorite things available from Aldi.  But for the first time ever, I’m in a bit of a quandary:  Is the two-quarter discount (Bolthouse products retail for $2.95 at Aldi, while their version is $2.49) enough to get me to commit to Nature’s Nectar’s version?  It’s too early to say for sure.  Still, if I was ever budget-strapped, or if the main brands were ever sold out (or stopped being carried altogether at Aldi stores), I wouldn’t have a problem making a switch.  As long as there’s a choice, though, I may just stick to the quiet perfection of the original.

5 comments:

  1. I've definitely seen a lot more national brand items at Aldi as of recently. what is more ridiculous is how for company known as a discount grocer, these national brands a lot of time cost MORE than they do at Walmart. And because the packaging looks nearly identical and they're usually located next to the house brand product, you have to be extra cautious not to pick up the wrong brand. Honey Nut Oats are a staple in my home and the only private label brand I tend to like is Aldi's (other brands usually have something not quite right about them), once they started selling the GM brand and strategically placed them next to the Aldi brand (in a similar looking orange box with a damn bee on the front no less) I had to actually look close to make sure I picked up the right box because I don't care how rich you are, $3.99 for a box of cereal is crazy especially when you can regularly find them for $2-2.50 at Walmart

    I don't really care for these Smoothie drinks so I have nothing to comment on these reviews.

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    1. I know! As I mentioned in my review, I actually made the mistake of purchasing the GM brand. It was the first time they started carrying GM's cereal, so I didn't even think to look. I grabbed a box, took it home, and then realized what I'd done. STILL makes me mad to this day, but it was also a valuable lesson, as I always make sure to double-check now.

      And I'm a little sad you don't like these smoothies. Every time Aldi carries a new flavor of Bolthouse Farms, I'm all over it. They're pretty good, and one of the few great deals here, considering the small bottles are the same price everywhere else. I must also say when Coke drops to $2.99 at Aldi, I make sure to let my wife get a couple. That's about as good as I've ever seen it anywhere.

      But when it's not on "sale", it's $4.39, or thereabouts, which is disgusting. Like you alluded to, I don't understand why it's so expensive...can't Coke cut them a deal where they can offer their soda for $2.99 all the time? Sometimes the business side of things baffles me.

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    2. After my last comment I spoke with the manager at my local store, and she basically told me that "Special Buys" at Aldi, especially of name brand stock are usually offered in smaller quantities on memo to see how well they sell in their stores. They sell for what it'll cost them, and if it doesn't sell in say a month, they'll send them back to the distributor and the distributor will then likely liquidate them for a quicker sale. Aldi has come a long ways as a discount grocer, and they're starting to gain confidence from distributors to allow them to sell on memo hence the reason we've seen a lot of "name brands" in stores recently.

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  2. I purchased the Super Green Smoothie and drank a great portion of it right away! It was SO delicious! When I went for more on another day, I noticed the label: "100% fruit and vegetable juice OF FROM concentrate & not from concentrate." OF FROM? What does that mean? I'm a teacher, and teachers are leaders. You have an awesome product (first impression), but the spelling just irritated me. I poured the rest of your product down the drain. I felt that if the label has not been edited for correctness, then perhaps the contents of the smoothie may not have been verified or certified. How many employees proofread before sending a product to the markets? I am a vegetarian and thought I'd found my dream smoothie. Unfortunately, I'm going to sit this one out. Please correct your label for future purchase. Thanks and God bless your efforts.

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    1. Well, I do not work for Aldi, nor am I affiliated with them in any way, so I can't help you out with your request.

      I didn't even notice that typo, and I usually pick up on things like that! Well hopefully they'll correct it. I guess in the meantime, you can just buy Bolthouse Farm's Green Goodness smoothie, which is what Aldi's was knocking off. Tastes pretty similar, in my opinion.

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