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    Bringing the Juice

  • Health benefits help provide interest in juice drinks and smoothies.

    While orange, apple, and cranberry are the most popular juice flavors, innovative options are popping up, too, according to Datassential.

    The chain’s 16-ounce drinks contain up to three pounds of organic fruits and vegetables. “New York is fast paced, and to get all of your veggies in a 16-ounce serving is great,” Helms says. Juice Generation also has smoothies, a Juice Farmacy line of hot juice drinks, and bottled Cooler Cleanse, the company’s juice-fasting regimen shipped nationwide.

    Daily Juice, with three locations in Austin, Texas, features a wide range of organic juices that are cold pressed, a process that mashes the fruit to extract juice while retaining natural nutrients. The company recently added salads and wraps to the menu and opened a new prototype unit as it prepares to expand outside its home city, says CEO John Martin. But high-quality juices and smoothies remain the main attraction.

    “There is awareness in the consumer space that other competitors are [using] mixes and dairy to bulk up their drinks,” he says. “We are all organic and natural.”

    Daily Juice’s most popular item is the Subliminator smoothie, with blueberries, cherries, bananas, apples, peanut butter, raw brown rice protein, and flax seed oil.

    Jamba Juice has long been a quick-service company synonymous with juicing. The company began in 1990 by blending juice, and its “core is still fresh juice—orange, carrot, and wheat grass—squeezed in the shop,” says James D. White, Jamba Juice’s chairman, president, and CEO.

    Renewed consumer interest in juicing’s benefits has led the chain to focus during the past year on expanding its fresh juice and juice-blend offerings. Jamba Juice is testing stores in the San Francisco area with blends including beets, kale, apples, ginger, and pineapple juices. It also has a new store design that puts juice at the forefront, a test that will expand to more stores this year.

    “Whether it’s with juice, smoothies, or our other menu items, we think we play a central part as customers look for healthier solutions,” White says.

    Juice It Up!, with most of its 84 units in California, also has been transitioning to more raw-juice blends to go with freshly made orange, apple, carrot, and wheat grass juices.

    “We’re now looking at green and orange and red juices,” Aslin says. That includes cucumber, celery, spinach, kale, and beets. One of the most popular juices at the chain is the Rejuvenator, with apples, carrots, beets, cucumbers, and ginger.

    Starbucks recently decided to go for juice in a big way. The Seattle-based giant acquired Evolution Fresh, which makes bottled, cold-pressed juices and smoothies using a high-pressure pasteurization process. That helps retain the natural flavors and nutrients of the raw fruits and vegetables for 40 days.

    Starbucks sells Evolution Fresh at 2,200 of the parent company’s West Coast units, as well as at grocers and other retail outlets. Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ chairman and CEO, told investors last fall that the company is “on track to continue extending distribution of Evolution Fresh” into more markets this year.

    Six varieties of Evolution Fresh juices—three green, two fruit, and one hydration—are sold in those West Coast units, but many more are available at newly created Evolution Fresh stores. The stores feature a “juice wall” with eight taps containing different juices, allowing employees to make a variety of handcrafted juice drinks and smoothies. These units also have breakfast items, soups, salads, sandwiches, and wraps. Bottled juices are also available.