Press Clips: The L.A. Juice Boom; Mayors Hope to Limit Use of Food Stamps for Sugary Drinks; PepsiCo Executive Takes New Direction

In Los Angeles, known as a hub for beverage incubation, the nascent cold-pressed juice category has found a suitable home that’s ripe for new additions.

Betty Hallock, a reporter with the Los Angeles Times, outlined the city’s juice boom by detailing the developments of juice makers like Clover, M.A.K.E. Out, Juice Farm and Pressed Juicery, which already has 14 locations in California and is in the process of building a 40,000 square-foot production facility in Central California. This facility would provide “direct access to the agricultural area’s produce, tons of which will be hydraulically squeezed into thousands of bottles of juice.”

Despite the high price point of cold-pressed juice, which can sell for about $12 for a 12 oz. bottle, according to the article, Chipper Pastron, the founder of Juice Farm, doesn’t consider the category to be a mere fad.

“When you see so many people rush into the marketplace, it almost kind of dilutes its authenticity,” Pastron said in the article. “But there’s a real transition going on in the way people approach the food they eat. They’re looking to improve their diet, and juicing is a way to do that.”

While Los Angeles continues to embrace cold-pressed juices, its mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, has joined New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and the mayors of 16 other U.S. cities in an effort to limit the use of food stamps for soda and other sugary drinks, according to a story by The Associated Press.

The mayors sent a letter to congressional leaders on Tuesday that said it’s “time to test and evaluate approaches” that could help limit this trend to curb obesity and other related diseases.

“Why should we continue supporting unhealthy purchases in the false name of nutrition?” Bloomberg, whose office released the letter, said in a statement.

The other mayors on board are from Baltimore, Boston, Louisville, Ky., Madison, Wis., Minneapolis, Newark, N.J., Oakland, Calif., Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Ore., Providence, R.I., Salt Lake City, San Francisco, St. Louis and Seattle.

The mayors find themselves with some added ammunition from the American Medical Association (AMA), which recently endorsed a proposal to ban the marketing of energy drinks to minors and on Wednesday announced that it’s in favor of removing sugar-sweetened beverages from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides assistance for millions of Americans from low-income households. The AMA, which also recently recognized obesity as a disease, noted that sugar-sweetened beverages account for 58 percent of beverages purchased under SNAP. The AMA’s effort arrives shortly after Monster Energy, among other companies, began marketing itself as a beverage, not a dietary supplement.

Meanwhile, as Dondeena Bradley and her colleagues at PepsiCo attempt to survive the legislative opposition to carbonated soft drinks, she’s taken a different direction as an entrepreneur, perhaps as a breath of fresh air.

Bradley, a VP at PepsiCo, is working on creating Wello, a protein drink marketed toward women. An article by Well and Good NYC profiles Bradley’s interest in filling a nutritional gap while also expanding the conversation of women’s health and wellness issues.

“I think of the beverage just as an invitation for women to come into a conversation about unleashing their well-being, and then connect to each other,” Bradley said.

Yet despite her seemingly good intentions, the article addressed the potentially hypocritical guise of a healthy drink started by a PepsiCo executive. Bradley seems to dodge this, instead citing her reach and experience in the industry and her passion for helping women.