Advertisement

11 Bottled Smoothie Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

11 bottled smoothie brands
11 bottled smoothie brands - Megan Hageman/Tasting Table

No matter what time of day it is, a smoothie is always a good idea. They're often jam-packed with fruits and other wholesome ingredients, making them perfect for a filling breakfast to start your day, an afternoon pick-me-up, or a post-workout snack. Smoothies are also extremely versatile and can be altered to fit your exact taste, such as by throwing in extras like protein powder, chia seeds, or leafy greens.

Whipping up a perfect smoothie at home is often the best way to reap all these benefits. But on the days when you don't have the time to pull out the blender or those times when you start the process only to realize your fruit has gone bad, bottled smoothies are there for you. Many companies offer products within this category, and they often can be found near the produce or yogurt section of the grocery store. Each one is starkly different from the next, and we set out to find the most elite offering from some of the country's most recognizable brands.

As we sipped and swigged each smoothie, we specifically watched out for those that mixed in strange additives or excessive amounts of added sugar. Instead, we focused on beverages that boast real fruits and short ingredient lists. From there, we let our taste buds take it away, trusting them to lead us to the smoothest and most satisfying smoothie of all.

Prices are as of the date of publication and may vary based on region.

Read more: 13 Simple Tricks To Pick The Best Fresh Fruit Every Time

11. Harmless Harvest

Harmless Harvest Dairy-Free Yogurt Drink
Harmless Harvest Dairy-Free Yogurt Drink - Megan Hageman/Tasting Table

Our quest for the best-bottled smoothie started out with a trip to Whole Foods, the store where organic and natural foods roam freely. As expected, we happened upon several blended beverages in the store's chilly refrigerator aisles, including a small selection from Harmless Harvest. The brand's lifeblood is and always has been refreshing coconut water, and it can be found at the core of each of its offerings. This happens to include both smoothies and probiotic dairy-free yogurt drinks. We were instantly fixated on the vibrant pink and tropical-inspired packaging of the 24-ounce bottle of the Organic strawberry dairy-free coconut drink.

There is promise of fruitiness as soon as the runny liquid first hits your tongue. But it quickly ebbs away as you finish your gulp. From there, the distinct coconut essence kicks in with a vengeance and sticks in your throat long after you've swallowed. Its taste is milky, salty, and sour all at the same time and it even reminded us of a coconut-based sunscreen — yuck.

On a positive note, there's no denying that Harmless Harvest has things sorted out on the nutrition end of things. Each bottle boasts a straightforward ingredient list with plenty of organic mentions, plus live and active cultures to promote gut health. But all this comes at the cost of a pleasant sipping experience — which is something we're not willing to sacrifice.

10. Bolthouse Farms

Bolthouse Farms Strawberry Parfait Breakfast Smoothie
Bolthouse Farms Strawberry Parfait Breakfast Smoothie - Megan Hageman/Tasting Table

At first glance, Bolthouse Farms' product inventory seems strangely unorthodox, consisting of carrots, dressing, and ready-to-drink beverages. It's certainly a lineup that makes you do a double-take. But, it also fulfills the company's promise of delivering healthier products and has been wildly successful — so, we're not here to judge.

When it comes to smoothies, Bolthouse offers a wide assortment of colorful bottles. Some promises energy, immunity, or even goodness, while others — like the strawberry parfait flavor we grabbed — are simply marketed as a wholesome, drinkable breakfast. After giving it a try, we agree that this mixture drinks like a meal. But, we have some other qualms with its consistency.

First, we were surprised to learn that the brand took the word "parfait" quite literally. The entire drink takes on a whole-grain taste, so each swig is akin to drinking pulverized granola. This paired with an artificial strawberry flavor — similar to what you would find in strawberry gummy candies — quickly sent Bolthouse tumbling to the bottom of our rankings.

However, what truly did the brand in was its nutritional information. Sure, 370 calories per bottle is a little steep — and we can give the drink some grace here, given its 11 grams of protein. But the 28 grams of added sugars is unforgivable and not the way you want to kickstart your morning.

9. Lifeway

Lifeway Raspberry Kefir
Lifeway Raspberry Kefir - Megan Hageman/Tasting Table

If you're new to kefir, you're not the only one. Dairy kefir is a yogurt-like beverage made by mixing together kefir grains, which are like the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) used in kombucha, with milk. It hails from Eastern Europe, where it has long been recognized as a staple superfood and a cherished part of daily diets.

With such important roots, we desperately wanted to give Lifeway's kefir beverage high marks. But, we found it to be something of an acquired taste that our palates weren't quite ready for. While we know it's meant to be tart, this raspberry-flavored kefir tasted sour to the point that we questioned if it had gone bad. The flavor sits and almost fizzles on your tongue, making it difficult to stomach — an ironic revelation for something meant to aid in gut health. A strong raspberry essence was also missing. It's a shame since the fruit was the one lone ingredient with the potential to balance out the tartness of the thick, milky beverage.

8. Dannon

Dannon Strawberry Smoothie
Dannon Strawberry Smoothie - Megan Hageman/Tasting Table

Dannon smoothies have that nostalgia factor going for them. We can all agree on that, considering the feeling likely stems from the beverage's stark similarity to Danimals smoothies. Finding one of those small red containers in your lunch box was always like striking gold, but unfortunately, the adult version of the product doesn't elicit quite the same level of excitement.

The strawberry smoothie flavor specifically is sweet, almost to a fault, with 14 grams of added sugars just in its small 7-ounce container. But, besides this, nothing else about the so-called smoothie makes an impact. It is essentially just a batch of yogurt that has been thinned out enough to drink. This didn't necessarily come as a surprise — Dannon is a strictly yogurt-focused company at the end of the day. But we were hoping for something with a little more character and depth under the lid. Maybe reverting back to Danimals is a smart move. That way, you will know the product's packaging will at least be amusing, even if the flavor continues to disappoint.

7. Light + Fit

Light + Fit Zero Sugar Smoothie
Light + Fit Zero Sugar Smoothie - Megan Hageman/Tasting Table

Light + Fit falls under the Dannon umbrella but operates with a slightly different mission. Sure, the brand still wants to share delicious and convenient food and drinks with its customers. But, it is also hyperfocused on women's empowerment and equipping them with the tools they need to succeed in the workplace and in their personal lives.

As part of this mission, Light + Fit offers a stout lineup of yogurt flavors and smoothies — which, as of summer 2023, are now available in zero-sugar varieties. Of course, we had to give this shiny new product a try, so we reverted back to the basics with a classic vanilla flavor. Unfortunately, we weren't impressed.

This Light + Fit smoothie is thinner than Dannon's. So, it tastes less like drinkable yogurt and more like sour milk since the vanilla flavoring doesn't register until after you've swallowed it. It also gets its sweetness from stevia leaf to accomplish its zero-sugar status. It's a swap that plagues the entire drink with a synthetic and artificial flavor — even though stevia is technically a "natural" sweetener.

Since it boasts just 40 calories and, again, zero sugar, we do give this smoothie props for fulfilling the "light" part of the equation. But, as such, it's also not a choice that will stave off hunger or one that we find particularly enjoyable.

6. Two Good

Two Good Peach Smoothie
Two Good Peach Smoothie - Megan Hageman/Tasting Table

Two Good is yet another yogurt and smoothie brand born from the minds of Danone North America, the company that owns Dannon and, subsequently, Light + Fit (this is the last in this realm, we promise).

Two Good, which was launched in 2019, is one of the corporation's new-age options. Each one of its smoothies is free from added sugars and artificial sweeteners and is lower in sugar than other cultured dairy drinks. Its yogurt flavors are extensive, rolling 12 deep. But, as a more recent portfolio add-on, smoothies are currently only offered in three core flavors: mixed berry, strawberry banana, and peach. The latter is the single-serve bottle we grabbed at the store.

The consistency is similar to that of whipping cream and our initial reaction was that the taste is rather pleasant. Like Light + Fit, it is sweetened with stevia leaf. But, the notes of fresh peach mask any sort of underlying artificial flavor essence. The fruity flavor is subtle but lingers for quite a while. Plus, the mouthfeel leaves you with a peach fuzziness or chalkiness on your tongue. Aside from these somewhat strange aftereffects, Two Good is an agreeable option that we wouldn't hate –- but wouldn't necessarily love -- sipping on again. Therefore, it lands right in the middle of the pack.

5. Kroger Carbmaster

Carbmaster Blueberry Protein Smoothie
Carbmaster Blueberry Protein Smoothie - Megan Hageman/Tasting Table

Kroger, refusing to be left behind, also gets in on the smoothie action with its creamy Carbmaster creations. Each one comes in a short yet portly bottle — the kind that looks like it's missing a neck. All of its smoothies are lactose-free and keto-friendly, each with 12 grams of protein. We sampled a blueberry beverage, but several other flavors, including peach, tropical mango, and honey banana, are also available.

Overall, this blue bottle was palatable and not bad at all for a $1.29 store-bought option. It's exceptionally sweet. But, in a good way -- kind of like you popped an entire handful of frozen (not fresh) blueberries in your mouth. The lavender-colored substance is viscous, almost to the point where we would call it chunky. But that only helped it to taste more homemade and gave us confidence in the smoothie's ability to fill us up and satisfy our palate.

If we were to give Kroger just one thing to work on, it would be the protein smoothie's slightly sour and offbeat aftertaste. It's nothing terribly serious. But, it's not an area to overlook since no brand wants to leave a bad taste in customers' mouths.

4. Suja Organic

Suja Vibrant Probiotic Drink
Suja Vibrant Probiotic Drink - Megan Hageman/Tasting Table

In addition to juice blends, a handful of products from Suja Organic are marketed explicitly as "smoothies." For example, its Vibrant Probiotic drink with strawberry, raspberry, lemon, and honey is described as being "Packed with probiotics that deliver the good bacteria your body needs in a tart and sweet smoothie." Without this verbiage, Suja would have never snuck into our taste test. Why, you might ask? Because its beverages are made exclusively with fruit and vegetable juices -- which means it completely omits the creamy, dairy-based component that most other smoothies typically possess.

But, ignoring this minor detail, Suja's offering is certainly one of the most nutritious and objectively good on our list. It's made up of organic ingredients, boasts just 60 calories, has very little added sugar, and contains plenty of Vitamin C. The flavor department is where it lacks. It's tart yet diluted at the same time, which reminds us of a watered-down strawberry lemonade. Even with stevia leaf extract powder sitting on the ingredient list, the sweetness never kicked in for us. So, even though it tastes fresh and you can tell you're drinking something of value, we can't say it's particularly yummy or inviting.

3. Chobani Complete

Chobani Complete yogurt drink
Chobani Complete yogurt drink - Megan Hageman/Tasting Table

Chobani was at the forefront of the Greek yogurt phenomenon, which hit the market like a huge white wave in the early 2010s. To this day, the brand remains a permanent fixture in the dairy aisle, and it has since expanded into other dairy and non-dairy categories as well, including oat milk, coffee creamer, and multiple smoothie varieties, one of which is the Chobani Complete line. Drinks in this collection are made with lactose-free yogurt and were undeniably the best yogurt-based smoothies we sampled.

The strawberry cream flavor gave us no complaints. A subtle yogurt tang is offset by the natural taste of real strawberries. The texture is one Goldilocks could be proud of, landing perfectly between too thick and too thin. It closes with a smooth finish devoid of any unpleasant aftertastes and leaves you wanting more.

But, what really impressed us about the blue bottles is that each one manages to dole out a whopping 20 grams of protein — presumably thanks to the Greek yogurt. With no added sugars as well, Chobani catapulted to the front of our list.

2. Naked Juice

Naked Superfood Machine Smoothie
Naked Superfood Machine Smoothie - Megan Hageman/Tasting Table

Naked is one of the best-known brands in the bottled smoothie game — and certainly one of the most popular. The bottles are sold nearly everywhere and are easy to pick out of a lineup due to the square shape.

Naked isn't just about offering a uniquely shaped product; it also offers your tastebuds one, too. Though it appears murky and suspicious, the Superfood Machine smoothie is refreshing and full-flavored. At first, the tastes that stand out are rich berries and crisp apples. But, as you continue to sip and savor, subtle hints of citrus and banana also come to the forefront.

While Naked leaves out any added sugars, it does manage to pack in 54 grams of the natural kind and 270 calories. So, while we appreciate that it drinks like a meal and offers that distinct smoothie texture that other brands lack, we do acknowledge that it's not the most nutritious smoothie on the market.

1. Evolution Fresh

Evolution Fresh Organic Defense Up Juice Smoothie
Evolution Fresh Organic Defense Up Juice Smoothie - Megan Hageman/Tasting Table

Evolution Fresh is another brand specializing in cold-pressed fruit juices, yet it sneaks the "smoothie" tag onto a handful of its bottles. We even double and triple-checked the packaging of the product we grabbed just to be sure it fell into this category.

But, we again decided to let bygones be bygones and judged this drink by its quality instead. Luckily, it excels in this department. The Organic Defense Up beverage is a drop of tropical paradise. Notes of citrusy oranges are at the forefront. But, later on, mango and pineapple combine forces, filling your head with luxurious visions of both sun and sand. It's naturally sweetened, making for an easy drink with no artificial flavors. This is the kind of beverage that makes a juice cleanse sound like a lovely idea.

All in all, we still think it's a bit of a stretch to classify this cold-pressed fruit juice as a smoothie. But either way, we're in agreement that Evolution Fresh is certainly doing something right.

Methodology

11 bottled smoothie drinks
11 bottled smoothie drinks - Megan Hageman/Tasting Table

To kick off this taste test, I picked up bottled smoothies from major grocery stores in the Columbus area, including Kroger, Target, Whole Foods, and Giant Eagle — a Midwest chain. I chose brands that were available nationally and easily recognizable, and I also grabbed a colorful assortment of flavors.

When it came down to rankings, I looked for a good-quality taste and a creamy texture that was not too thick or too thin. I was willing to let more juice-forward offerings slide if they offered off-the-charts natural flavors. Solid nutritional benefits like added vitamins and protein were also a major plus. Conversely, options chock-full of added sugars did not fare well, as I was looking for the most natural taste and best quality ingredients.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.