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Smoothie King is hoping to improve its image as both a health-conscious concept and a meal destination with the launch of its new product, the Lean1 Smoothie.
The Lean1, which was tested in Jacksonville, Florida, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, earlier this year, will be available in Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry flavors when it rolls out nationwide later this month.
Bobby Williams, vice president of marketing for Smoothie King, says the Lean1’s weight-loss protein powder and nutrients will make it a must-have menu option for the health conscious.
“It helps burn body fat up to 68 percent faster, it helps curb hunger cravings, it’s got 27 vitamins and minerals it, it helps speed recovery from work outs, and it’s positioned as a weight-loss product but can also be used to help folks build up lean muscle,” Williams says.
The Lean1 was developed by a team of doctors, researchers, and nutritionists at Nutrition53, which was founded by former NFL player Bill Romanowski, and is exclusive to Smoothie King.
The product will support Smoothie King’s new “Lean On Us for Lunch” promotional campaign, which pushes the concept’s core product as more of a meal replacement than a snack.
“I think the image outside of a lot of our core markets has been that smoothies are a snack, and I think that’s what McDonald’s is communicating right now,” Williams says. “We know that our smoothies can be and are a meal replacement.”
Smoothie King is teaming up with Exercise TV as part of the launch, and will provide mini workouts and fitness tips on its Facebook page and website. The intent of the campaign, Williams says, is to encourage consumers to find new ways to be active, even if it’s just during their lunch break.
“We’re known for something that’s good for you, portable, fairly quick, refreshing, and Exercise TV … tends to focus on, ‘If you could just do a little bit of exercise every day, you’re going to be much better off than if you don’t do anything,’” he says.
During the Lean1’s market test, Williams says, the product became one of the top 10 products in participating stores, despite the stores having roughly 90 available products.
“For a brand that’s been around as long as ours to have a new smoothie come in and get that high that quick and have some staying power, that says a lot,” he says.
Though Smoothie King has always been a health-centered quick-serve concept, Williams says, the importance of nutritious new products and marketing to the health conscious is more significant now than ever before.
“Our goal is to do a better job of communicating to customers and guests what a real smoothie is—it’s not just fruit and ice and throwing it into a blender,” he says. “Our smoothies … have a function, are good for you, do something for your body that is good.”
By Sam Oches