For those who love lemonade, but hate how much sugar they’re consuming when they drink it, Poppilu, a new locally-made lemonade drink could be the healthy alternative.
Poppilu is an antioxidant lemonade with no preservatives or artificial flavors, and has less sugar than other leading brands. It was founded in June by Melanie Kahn, a former marketing executive at Chicago-based dairy company Fairlife.
She came up with the idea for Poppilu when she was pregnant with her second child and was itching to drink citrus beverages, but couldn’t find a healthy option to satisfy her cravings.
“Consumers love the taste of lemonade,” Kahn said. “But a lot of people don’t drink it anymore because it’s really not healthy for you.”
A 12-ounce serving of Poppilu contains only 14 grams of sugar, but what really sets Poppilu apart from other lemonades is the inclusion of aronia berries, also known as chokeberries, locally grown super-fruits that look like a black blueberry, and naturally turn the beverage pink.
“This is the cherry on top that makes my low-sugar lemonade much more healthy,” Kahn said. “It’s a combination of sweet and tart. It’s a very tangy flavor.”
Poppilu is sold in three flavors, including an original lemonade, blueberry lavender and passionfruit, and each one only has five to seven ingredients. The drink is manufactured in the Twin Cities, and is sold in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and parts of Michigan in Jewel Osco and other regional grocery chains. And according to Kahn, Mariano’s has committed to selling the beverage in spring 2018. Poppilu is on track to sell 20,000 bottles by the end of this year.
“The consumer reaction has been really positive, and it gives us hope that there’s a bigger future for us,” Kahn said.
With a short and transparent ingredient label, Poppilu is hopping on a trend that other local food and beverage companies have in producing options that attract consumers looking for healthy and organic options.
In 2018, Kahn plans to begin selling Poppilu throughout the entire Midwest, but says she’ll need some funding to do so. Over the summer, Kahn raised $150,000 from undisclosed donors, but has plans to launch an official fundraising round for about $2 million next year as she expands the beverage company.
“Consumers love the taste of lemonade,” Kahn said. “It never goes out of style.”