In the words of Chris Bruzzo, senior vice president, Channel Brand Management and general manager, Evolution Fresh, “the category of cold-pressed, super-premium juice is really having its moment.” Indeed, these high quality products, the majority of which are sold by natural retailers, have attracted a tremendous amount of attention and enthusiasm, and sustained growth appears to be a forgone conclusion. However, a deeper examination of the category reveals a potentially challenging path for new brands.
Over the past 18 months, surging demand for cold-pressed juice has generated a wave of change in the super-premium juice category. Much of the excitement has come from within the natural channel, where stalwart brands like Odwalla and Naked are being displaced by ultra-fresh, high-pressure processed (HPP) products from Evolution Fresh, BluePrint and Suja, all of which are either already in or moving into national distribution at Whole Foods.
That dynamic growth has — as could be expected — attracted a bevy of new companies into the mix. However, the new launches can also be attributed to the relatively low barriers to entry compared to other beverage categories. In recent months, we’ve seen a number of entrepreneurs, armed with a small financial investment and access to a commercial juicer, launch home-delivery businesses and storefront operations, with several segueing into bottled retail brands.
But are these upstart companies arriving a little late to the party? Consider the marketing and distribution muscle behind Starbucks-owned Evolution Fresh or that of natural foods conglomerate Hain Celestial, which acquired BluePrint last December. Can new brands match the financial clout of Suja, which recently purchased two HPP machines at a cost of several million dollars? Attempting to compete against these well-established, well-funded brands will be — to put it mildly — an uphill battle.
We decided to try to hash it out on-camera. In this video, filmed at BevNET headquarters in Watertown, Mass., BevNET founder John Craven and BevNET Managing Editor Ray Latif delve into the cold-pressed juice category and examine the evolution and current market opportunities for super-premium juices, including the viability of the juice cleanse movement. Craven and Latif also discuss the growth of HPP and the importance of the technology in terms of safety and brand scalability, as well as how smaller sizes and approachable flavors are carving a path to mainstream growth.