We may be facing the last throes of summer (at least here in Boston that’s the case), but it’s clear that cold-pressed juice companies are anything but content to lean back and soak in the sun. Speaking with executives from several brands, BevNET found many in high gear amid the launch of new product introductions, expanded distribution and the development of new facilities and storefronts. Here are a few updates:
The company has been Seattle-based since its inception, however, it’s likely that Vital Juice will move its headquarters to New York City, according to CEO and founder Edward Balassanian, who noted that its corporate marketing team has already shifted operations to Manhattan. The transition comes as Vital Juice is readying the launch of a new juicery in the city, a critical step in Balassanian’s plan to createa national network of micro-juiceries, a strategy in which he hopes to deliver fresh juice more quickly and efficiently into the hands of customers. The goal is to produce 5,000 bottles of juice per day within a 5,000 sq. ft. facility.
The New York facility is expected to be fully operational in mid-to-late September and follows the launch of a temporary juicery that Vital Juice opened in Orange, Calif. earlier this month. Balassanian said that the facility offered Vital Juice an opportunity to test out a new partnership with Amazon Fresh, which distributes its products in the Los Angeles area. The online food delivery service operates in Seattle, Northern California and Southern California and appears to have recently broken ground in New York City. Vital Juice products will also soon be distributed in Gelson’s supermarkets, natural grocer Jimbo’s and several independent retailers in L.A., Balassanian said.
The Starbucks-owned brand recently completed a label refresh and added two new varieties to its extensive portfolio of juices.
With greater emphasis on the words “cold-pressed,” “perishable,” and “high pressure processed,” the new labels also feature a different take on its long-employed “fruit math” which the brand added to the side of its labels to describe the ingredient content in each product (i.e. one apple, 10 strawberries, 1.5 bananas, etc.). While Evolution Fresh uses a similar ingredient panel, in lieu of exact figures, it offers affable descriptors for each ingredient, such as “Cucumber – Refreshingly cool” and “Turmeric – A zesty zing.”
And should its juice look a bit settled in the bottle, Evolution Fresh now calls on its consumers to “Shake away separation. Drink up invigoration.” The trademarked tagline is included near the bottom of the new labels underneath the ingredient list. Additionally, all Evolution Fresh juices feature the Non-GMO Project Verified seal, with the exception of its Protein Power variety, which is expected to gain verification later this month.
Upon its national launch with Whole Foods last August, Evolution Fresh has made a deeper play in the natural retailer via the development of new organic products, including its Organic Ruby Roots and Organic Sweet Burn juices. Like those juices, Evolution’s new Organic Splendid Carrot and Organic Avocado Greens each launched as exclusives at Whole Foods.
While direct-to-consumer e-commerce is the lifeblood of Urban Remedy’s distribution strategy, the company operates two brick-and-mortar storefronts in Northern California, and three weeks ago launched a pop-up cart on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. Certainly, the stores are intended to be revenue drivers and profitable, however CEO Paul Coletta sees a more critical purpose, that of “3-D billboards” for the company.
Focusing on small spaces with light build-out costs, Coletta, who came on as CEO of the company in June, sees the goal of the storefronts as to drive trial and awareness of Urban Remedy in “high-traffic, high-influencer locations.” The hope is that consumers “come and experience Urban Remedy at one of these pop-up carts or non-traditional retail storefronts, and migrate online, where we do an even better job of servicing” the customer, Coletta said.
The “cold-pressured” juice giant has been full steam ahead in its quest to be the dominant player in the category, with new line extensions and retail partnerships coming from seemingly every direction. The pedal-to-the-metal approach appears to be working: despite being a two-year-old company, Suja is expected to reach $50 million in annual sales this year, according to CEO Jeff Church.
After starting the year with 10,000 total distribution points (TDP – number of SKUs times number of retail outlets), Suja is now sitting on 50,000 TDP, a number heavily influenced by the amount of innovation that the company has pumped out in 2014. Beginning with the January introduction of Essentials, a line intended to be a “scale driver” for the brand, Suja followed with the launch of a “cleanse pack,” which is sold exclusively at Costco, added a new cold-pressed tea line, and in the last month, the company unveiled a new six-SKU 49 oz. multi-serve package that is part of its Elements line.
With retail presence in natural, conventional and warehouse channels, Suja recently added one of the largest mass retailers to its ever-expanding circle of distribution. The brand is entering 1,200 Target stores with its Essentials line and “a smaller subset” of its classic line in September, Church said.
And after years of sending the products out to local HPP toll processors, Suja began handling the after-bottle processing of its juices, having switched on its own HPP machine in July.