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Smoothies – Tried and Tasted

Smoothies have really arrived. They're being given their own shelves in supermarkets and, most impressively, their own appliance in our homes. But how far have smoothie flavours advanced?

The WLR Taste Team love a juicy challenge to get stuck in to and had a lot to get through. Find out which of these smoothies they fell for.

Table 1: Smoothies Compared
Product Marks & Spencer Count On Us Strawberry & Raspberry Smoothie Innocent Superfoods Pomegranates, Blueberries & Acai Sainsbury's Exotic Orange & Mango Smoothie
  Marks & Spencer Count On Us Strawberry & Raspberry Smoothie Innocent Superfoods Pomegranates, Blueberries & Acai Sainsbury's Exotic Orange & Mango Smoothie
Ranking 1 2 3
Summary Excellent, juicy flavour. Main ingredient, apple juice, did overshadow a little. The sharpness divided the team's opinions. Quite intense: thick; dark colour; unashamed of its gritty bits; a healthy smell and bold flavour. May take a lot of getting used to for some but well loved by those who do. Very good for an exotic fruit juice, but this is also where it falls down: not enough like a smoothie.
Serving Size 250ml 250ml 200ml
Calories (kcal) per serving 125 143 124
Fat (g) per serving 0.4 0.5 0.4
Table 2: Smoothies Compared
Product Tesco Super Fruit Smoothie with Guavas & Raspberries Asda Smoothie Strawberry, Banana and Guava Marks & Spencer Count On Us Strawberry & Vanilla Smoothie
  Tesco Super Fruit Smoothie with Guavas & Raspberries Asda Smoothie Strawberry, Banana and Guava Marks & Spencer Count On Us Strawberry & Vanilla Smoothie
Ranking 4 5 6
Summary Refreshing and energising with a unique, if slightly bland for some, flavour. Quite enjoyable. A weak taste at first which unfolds later. Could be a little thicker but a good mix of flavours. Nice enough and a good mix of flavours but still seems to have something missing. Could probably do without its added sweeteners.
Serving Size 250ml 200ml 200ml
Calories (kcal) per serving 140 116 125
Fat (g) per serving 2.5 0.4 0.3
Table 3: Smoothies Compared
Product Boots Shapers Strawberry & Banana Fruit Smoothies B2B Smoothies Peach & Passion Fruit Waitrose Pear, Apricot & Blackberry Smoothie with Acai
  Boots Shapers Strawberry & Banana Fruit Smoothies B2B Smoothies Peach & Passion Fruit Waitrose Pear, Apricot & Blackberry Smoothie with Acai
Ranking 7 8 9
Summary Trying desperately to get attention. This was thick, smooth, sweet, sharp and tangy. But with a strange aftertaste. Bitter sweet. Tastes nicer than it looks but the peach taste, though fairly nice, did seem too chemically. The pear taste and pear bits split the tasters. Not the best, though some may find it enjoyable.
Serving Size 250ml 330ml 250ml
Calories (kcal) per serving 115 188 152
Fat (g) per serving 0.3 <0.3 1.0
Table 4: Smoothies Compared
Product Waitrose Alphonso Mango & Passion Fruit Smoothie The Big J Raspberry and Banana Smoothie Slim-Fast Peach & Mango Smoothie
  Waitrose Alphonso Mango & Passion Fruit Smoothie The Big J Raspberry and Banana Smoothie Slim-Fast Peach & Mango Smoothie
Ranking 10 11 12
Summary Has a 'cleaner' taste then some of the other orange smoothies though some could find it too weak. A rich, dark colour masks a fairly weak flavour. Very watery and very tart. Feels like a milkshake; tastes like bottom-end sweets. Very dry mouth feel and lingering aftertaste. Hard to imagine being a whole meal.
Serving Size 250ml 250ml 325ml
Calories (kcal) per serving 143 165 215
Fat (g) per serving 1.0 0.8 6.5

Conclusion

As we have seen, there is no formal definition for a smoothie. Rightly or wrongly, they may not feature any of the puréed fruit you would normally expect. It may also be a label all too easily applied to drinks to try to gain some of the healthy connotations associated with the word 'smoothie'.

When your main ingredient is fruit you are generally tied down to certain truths. Firstly it should be very easy for anyone to make a healthy smoothie. You're starting with some of the best raw materials and we tend to expect smoothies to be natural and nutritious. Although fruit can be quite calorific, they are often seen them as 'good', necessary calories.

Secondly, if you're following the natural approach the flavour and consistency should all depend on the precise blend of fruits and vegetables used. Here is where the difficulty comes in and most of the smoothies above have risen to the challenge quite well using an impressive range of ingredients. Aside from obvious differences in quality, individual preferences for fruits are clearly at work here.

The simplicity of smoothies also means that anyone with a food processor of some kind can experiment and create their own smoothie recipes to their own tastes.

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