Evolution Fresh Puts Pressure on Cold-Pressed Competition with Launch of New $70 Million Facility

Starbucks today announced that it will dramatically ramp up production of Evolution Fresh juices with the launch of a new $70 million juicery and manufacturing facility. The new plant, which is located in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., will enable Starbucks to quadruple production of the cold-pressed, high-pressure processed (HPP) juice products, according to the company. The launch represents a critical step in reaching the company’s goal to distribute Evolution Fresh juices in more than 8,000 Starbucks and grocery retailers throughout the U.S. by the end of 2013.

The launch of the facility comes amid growing awareness and demand for cold-pressed juices, and significant expansion in the distribution of Evolution Fresh juice products. Starbucks recently announced a national distribution deal with Whole Foods and has over the past year replaced Naked brand juices with Evolution Fresh products in thousands of its company-owned cafes.

“The opening of this juicery marks a significant milestone in Evolution Fresh’s history and commitment to making high-quality, never-heated, nutritious juice available to consumers across the country,” Chris Bruzzo, general manager, Evolution Fresh said in a statement. “We believe cold-pressed is the future of juice and we are leading the charge in changing the way people think about juice.”

The growth of the Evolution Fresh brand meant replacing its original manufacturing plant with the new 264,000 sq. ft. facility, which is “one of the largest (in dollar sales) HPP juiceries in the U.S. capable of sourcing, peeling, squeezing and pressing raw fruits and vegetables,” and will employ 190 people, according to Starbucks. The new plant is equipped with four HPP units each designed and built by Hiperbaric, a major manufacturer of HPP equipment in the U.S., and currently able to produce 140,000 gallons of juice per week, four times as much as the old facility.

“Everything is streamlined to do cold-pressed juice in the best possible way,” Bruzzo told BevNET. “From our perspective, this is an inflection point. To open a 264,000 sq. ft. facility that is designed to do one thing really well, that means that our expectations — and the indications of what’s happening in the marketplace — is that there will be a major consumer shift.”

The belief the there will be a dynamic shift in how Americans consume juice was the reason that Starbucks built the new juicery with a significant amount of room for growth. Bruzzo said that the company has the space to add four more HPP machines, which, if added, could double its current output. Bruzzo also stated that the new facility will enable to Starbucks to bring its 32 and 64 oz. multi-serve options, which are primarily sold in Southern California, to other U.S. regions.

“It’s great to stand in front of this very physical manifestation of ‘what is it going to take?’ to supply the whole country with the juice that it needs, if juice is going to become, in fact, a daily ritual and build up on this trend of functional beverages that deliver nutrition,” Bruzzo said.