Starbucks Takes Evolution Fresh Nationwide at Whole Foods

Starbucks has announced a new deal with Whole Foods that will take its Evolution Fresh line of super-premium juices nationwide. Evolution Fresh, which had been sold primarily along the West Coast and parts of the Northeast, will be carried in all eight Whole Foods regions, and Starbucks plans for the brand to be sold in approximately 8,000 of its cafes and other grocery locations by the end of the year.

The deal includes the launch of a new line of premium snacks called Evolution Harvest that will debut at Whole Foods locations and roll out to Starbucks stores later this year. The new brand includes variety of snack bars, trail mixes, and fruit snacks, each of which will have a suggested retail price of $1.95. Evolution Fresh has also announced the addition of two new flavors — Organic Ruby Roots and Organic Sweet Burn — that will be sold exclusively at Whole Foods, albeit for an undisclosed period of time.

Evolution Fresh, a cold-pressed juice brand which helped pioneer the use of high-pressure processing (HPP) in beverages, was acquired by Starbucks in November 2011 as a key piece of a strategy to become a  major player in what CEO Howard Schultz then termed as a “$50 billion health and wellness sector.” Starbucks pegs the current super-premium juice market to be worth $1.6 billion and, armed with national distribution at Whole Foods, will certainly look to be the leader in expanding the category to a broader range of consumers.

“We’ve received enthusiastic customer support in every market where we’ve introduced Evolution Fresh juice, and have been working toward our goal of national distribution since the acquisition,” said Chris Bruzzo, senior vice president, Channel Brand Management and general manager, Evolution Fresh, said in a statement.

As a result of the new distribution, Evolution’s juices and snacks will replace PepsiCo’s Naked Juice and Kind LLC’s Kind bars in Starbucks stores, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. The Journal noted Starbucks’ belief that the move will be more profitable and create greater awareness for the Evolution brand.

The push into Whole Foods comes shortly after BluePrint’s recent foray into smaller sized bottles, which are also currently sold exclusively at Whole Foods. BluePrint’s new three-SKU line, packaged in 10 oz. bottles, come in slightly more mainstream-focused flavors — Carrot Lemon, Kale Apple Lemon, and Orange Grapefruit Lemon — than its larger format products, and are intended to “connect with a wider consumer base by offering more options both from a palate and health-driven perspective,” according to a statement from the company.

Despite an increasingly competitive environment for cold-pressed juices, Bruzzo said that Evolution Fresh is, particularly with new distribution at Whole Foods and Starbucks, better positioned than competing brands to take advantage of growing awareness and adoption of cold-pressed juices.

“We believe that our mission is about trying to get really healthy fruit and vegetable juice into the hands and into the bodies of as many people as possible, Bruzzo told BevNET. “And we’re in a position to really lead the category of cold-pressed juices, which we believe is the future of juice.”