Edward Balassanian is a big believer in efficiency. He’s also a steadfast advocate of nutritious foods, and as the CEO of Seattle-based Vital Juice, Balassanian is leaning on tech-driven solutions to bring the brand’s high pressure processed, cold-pressed juice to a broad range of consumers.
With lessons gleaned from a long career as a Microsoft executive and technology entrepreneur, Balassanian launched Vital Juice in 2013, having financed and designed the brand through Be. Labs, Balassanian’s incubation outfit. The company, which is also based in Seattle and almost entirely funded by Balassanian, was built “to identify trends that are at or near a tipping point” and use “process engineering and brand building acumen to create disruptive businesses that quickly cross the chasm from startup to growth company,” according to its website.
A focal point of the Vital Juice business model is a concept that Balassanian calls “micro-juicing.” The idea is to offer a large number of consumers ultra-fresh, whole food products via the creation of multiple production facilities spread across several densely populated cities.
In a recent video interview filmed at BevNET headquarters in Watertown, Mass., Balassanian explained that Vital’s notion of micro-juicing is rooted in the company dedication to quality and nutrition.
“We really feel that with the fresh, organic produce that we’re using for our juices, that scaling to a massive size in [one] facility will inevitably lead to adding preservatives, buying purees and removing yourself from the source product,” he said.
The template for Vital’s micro-juicery model is its current facility in Seattle, which has systems in place that allow Balassanian and his team to “track produce all the way from the vendor through to the bottle, almost on a per carrot basis, for example.”
“We can track the yield on a particular variety of carrots, in a particular time of the year, from a particular vendor at a particular juicery,” Balassanian said. “And that’s really important to us, because we want to have that kind of oversight on this distributed manufacturing model.”
Balassanian said that over the next 18 months Vital Juice will look to open four new production facilities around the U.S. beginning with New York. The company is also eying operations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. The expansion will be bolstered by a new vice president of marketing and a director of operations, each of whom were recently hired by Vital Juice, which currently has over 20 employees.
In this video, Balassanian discusses much more about Vital Juice’s plans to expand production and distribution of its juices, which now include a new kids’ line. He also offers insight and details on the establishment of a facility in New York, retailers’ take on the juices, and Vital Juice’s model for ingredient sourcing.