How Poppi Is Reshaping Soda Culture For Gen Z And Millennials

Food & Drink

Soda has shaped culture and nostalgic moments throughout the last century but U.S. consumers are demanding more natural, low sugar and functional ingredients in their carbonated beverages. Allison Ellsworth set out to build just that with Poppi. What started as a farmer’s market hit has become the number one selling soft drink on Amazon. Poppi’s market share sits at 19% which is 1.5x bigger than Coke’s. In the last four weeks, Poppi is the 11th fastest-growing beverage brand for dollar sales, with higher growth than Monster Energy, Gatorade, Liquid Death, Vitaminwater, and many others. More importantly, Poppi is reimagining the soda culture for Gen Z and Millenials.

Ellsworth and her husband Stephen created Poppi to combine fruit juice and prebiotics to create a deliciously refreshing, full-flavored soda containing 5 grams of sugar or less and 25 calories or less. The pair landed a Shark Tank investment from Rohan Oza and since have built a roster of celebrity fans and investors like Hailey Bieber, Kylie Jenner, Billie Eilish, Russell Westbrook, JLo, Olivia Munn and more. Poppi currently has eleven flavors including Strawberry Lemon, Raspberry Rose, Orange, Ginger Lime, Watermelon, Cherry Limeade, Grape, Classic Cola, Root Beer, Doc Pop sold nationwide in major drugstores, convenience stores, and grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Target, Kroger, Costco and Publix.

Over the last two years, Poppi has built a grassroots strategy using organic social and influencer marketing amounting to 204MM impressions and 2.3MM engagements in 2023. This has helped Poppi enter 5 million monthly new households in 2024 and turned their consumers into a cult following. “Poppi’s become so much more than a soda, it’s a tight-knit community and lifestyle at this point. We’re a part of people’s daily lives, and we don’t take that for granted! From exclusive merch to exciting collaborations with other brands, we’re creating hype and interest that goes beyond a product. As soda lovers, we want to share the joy and the freedom of drinking soda again and normalizing it. For a long time, soda has had a bad reputation and it’s our mission to turn that around. The response we see from Gen Z lets us know we’re on the right path!” exclaimed Ellsworth.

More recently, Poppi reimagined the soda experience at their future-forward, interactive pop-up, Poppi Mart, to celebrate their first 16oz can at 7-Eleven. Inspired by nostalgic convenience store slushies, consumers were able to visit this futuristic pop-up, grab a Poppi slushy or soda and shop merch while interacting with Instgram-worthy installations. Tapping into big cultural moments, Poppi’s Superbowl commercial was the most-watched commercial of the game, reaching 29.1 million Poppi’s other pop-ups have included the Poppi Hamptons house, Poppi x Marc Jacobs Bloomingdales, Surf Lodge, and Montauk Beach House and the US Open pop up in NYC. Additionally, Poppi is the official sponsor of the Miami Pickleball Club which is owned by Naomi Osaka, Nick Kyrgios, Super Bowl Champion Patrick Mahomes, DJ Kygo, and others.

Ellsworth’s commitment to intersecting a better-for-you product with virality, celebrity and cultural moments has accelerated Poppi’s cult following from Gen Z and Millennials. “I think people in those age brackets have naturally gravitated towards us for different reasons. Millennials, like myself, grew up drinking soda and loving it, so it’s closely associated with so many memories for us. Backyard BBQs, movies, and hanging out with friends, we’d always be drinking traditional sodas. I think once we all found out it wasn’t the healthiest, attitudes started to shift, but now millennials are seeking out brands like Poppi who can provide those products in a healthier package that tastes just as amazing. Diet cola culture and artificial ingredients just don’t appeal to Millennial or Gen Z consumers. I think we connect with Gen Z because we’re so social forward and spend a lot of time and energy connecting with our online community. I decided to center TikTok in our marketing efforts years ago, so we were way ahead of the curve and have over four hundred thousand followers on that platform now. I also think Gen Z consumers are really savvy. They want products that are made with better ingredients and are better for you, without sacrificing taste. They’re not willing to settle, and neither are we,” she shared.

With triple digit month over month growth and a dedicated customer base, Coco Cola has been rumored to be pursuing the acquisition of Poppi. Whether or not a sale is in the near future for Poppi, Ellsworth continues her mission to bring Poppi to the masses.

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