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Summer months may connote indulgent treats like ice cream and popsicles, but Smoothie King is betting that consumers will also be seeking out healthier, yet still refreshing, options. The brand recently introduced four “Summer Hydration” smoothies. The brand also tapped professional volleyball players and Olympic athletes Emily Day and Brooke Sweat to help promote the new line.
“[Smoothie King] was coming out with this Summer Hydration series and wanted some faces to put with the campaign and thought that beach volleyball players fit that description perfectly because we’re competing in the sun. Hydration and nutrition are very important to us,” says Gold Medalist Emily Day. “It’s definitely a meal or a nutritional tool that I use.”
Featuring sweet summer flavors like watermelon, peaches, and passionfruit, the hydration series also packs ingredients like Vita Coco coconut water, protein blend, and electrolyte to replenish key minerals like potassium and vitamin C.
The novelty of these new smoothies might also play to their advantage. Not only are consumers more mindful of making healthy choices, they are also looking for variety with two-thirds reporting that they will sometimes or frequently try new beverages, according to Mintel.
As Day and Sweat travel around the country for tournaments, they’ll stop into local Smoothie King locations and host special events. Day says that while she and Sweat might help draw the younger crowd, other consumers who aren’t particularly familiar with volleyball will attend to learn more about nutrition and hydration.
“Yes, [the Hydration line] works well with athletes and people who are competing or training for something, but an everyday person who’s just looking to quench their thirst or taste something really fruity, the hydration smoothies are awesome,” Day says.
So far the Watermelon Hydrator (watermelon juice blend, strawberries, coconut water, lemon juice blend, turbinado sugar, and protein blend) and the Strawberry Mango Hydrator (strawberries, mango juice blend, mango sorbet, coconut water, and electrolyte blend) are the two most popular; the latter is also Day’s personal favorite.
Watermelon, which is featured in the Hydrator as well as the Watermelon X-treme varieties, was a key ingredient for the Summer Hydration lineup. Smoothie King vice president of product development Rocky Gettys says franchisees and store managers had been requesting a watermelon smoothie option so when the time came to choose different fruits, that was an immediate pick. The purpose behind the smoothies—hydration—was also a natural fit for summer.
“We always try and start with a purpose in mind. We don’t always go for just flavor; our menu is pretty heavily based on designing smoothies that have a specific nutritional purpose,” Gettys says.
As of now the Summer Hydration smoothies will be a limited-time offer for the summer only, but Gettys hints that it might have a future beyond the LTO status.
“We figured hydration would be a great fit for the season, where people are active and not just with exercise, but just regular, routine activities tend to be more outside in the summer,” he adds.
By Nicole Duncan