When Starbucks announced its acquisition of Evolution Fresh in 2011, the coffee giant stated that, as consumer awareness of cold-pressed juice brand grew, it would “introduce a new health and wellness retail concept which will further redefine the super-premium juice category and experience for consumers unlike any prior existing juice retail.” It was a bold proposition amid a fast-growing market for juice bars and on-premise retailers of fresh-pressed juice drinks.
Starbucks did get out of the gate relatively quickly with the launch of the first Evolution Fresh retail store, located in Seattle, in March, 2012, just four months after it acquired the juice brand. Since then, however, the company has opened only three other locations, one of which is slated to be closed at the end of this month.
Starbucks quietly announced its decision to shutter the Evolution Fresh store in San Francisco as part of a recent press release, one that focuses on the company plans to close its 23 La Boulange bakery cafés and two manufacturing facilities that serve those locations, by the end of September.
The three other Evolution Fresh retail stores, two of which are located in Seattle and the other in Bellevue, Wash., will remain in operation. In addition to selling handcrafted juice blends, the stores carry a range of food items, including salads, soups and sandwiches.
In a statement e-mailed to BevNET, Starbucks indicated that it will focus its resources on the continued development of its packaged Evolution Fresh offerings:
“We continue to be pleased with the performance of Evolution Fresh. Since the acquisition in 2011, Evolution Fresh is now one of the most widely available cold-pressed green juices in the U.S. Evolution Fresh offers an extensive portfolio of bottled juices, available nationally in premium grocery stores, natural food stores, Starbucks® retail stores, and in the three company-operated Evolution Fresh™ retail locations. Due to the success and popularity of Evolution Fresh cold-pressed juices at grocery store locations, we will continue to focus our growth on bottled cold-pressed juice, working to make incredible nutrition widely accessible. Our three Evolution Fresh stores in Washington, one Bellevue and two Seattle locations, are not impacted by this transition.”
While the addition of new Evolution Fresh retail stores seems unlikely, Starbucks is developing other ways to market on-premise offerings for the juice brand. In March, the company announced that it would begin selling Evolution Fresh Smoothies at 4,300 Starbucks stores in the Pacific Northwest, Northern California and select grocery stores nationwide. Handcrafted by company baristas, the smoothies are made with Evolution Fresh juice (packaged versions are high pressure processed) and Dannon-produced Greek yogurt. Starbucks entered into a strategic partnership with dairy giant Danone in 2013, and began testing the smoothies a year later in Starbucks stores located in San Jose and St. Louis.