Heralded as the exclusive cold-pressed juice offering at the specialty retailer, Lumi Juice recently announced a deal with The Fresh Market that will bring the super-premium, high pressure processed (HPP) juice line to its 160 locations in 25 states across the U.S.
Lumi founder and CEO Hillary Lewis said that while there is no defined non-compete agreement between her company and The Fresh Market, the retailer carries no other cold-pressed, HPP juice brands.
Lewis first approached The Fresh Market in March hoping to land Lumi on the grocer’s shelves following its May reset. While The Fresh Market sells a line of freshly made juices in its stores, it had been looking to add a cold-pressed, HPP juice brand to its shelves. After reviewing a range of options, the company decided that Lumi would be its only offering, Lewis said.
For Lewis, the process was surprisingly simple: send the The Fresh Market a few sample bottles, head south to its headquarters in Greensboro, N.C., meet with a buyer for about 25 minutes, and, that as they say, was that.
“When they tasted Lumi and they looked at our story, it fit with what their grocery store represents: quality products, a great shopping experience and providing consumers with something delicious and nutritious,” Lewis said.
Lumi is now represented throughout The Fresh Market chain, where the natural grocer will initially carry four varieties of Lumi juice — Farmhouse Greens, Basic Greens, Piedmont Pineapple and Belmont Beet — each sold at $8.99 per 16 oz. bottle, which Lewis views as the everyday retail price for the juices.
In addition to The Fresh Market, Lumi juices are sold at over 40 Whole Foods locations in its Mid-Atlantic region and more than 30 Safeway stores in the same area. The brand is also carried by online grocer FreshDirect for exclusive distribution in metro New York.
Though a majority of Lumi juices are currently sold in states near or bordering Virginia, the brand’s new retail presence at The Fresh Market instantly gave the brand a more national presence, with Lumi now sold in California, Massachusetts and Illinois, among 15 other states added to its distribution footprint. It’s something that Lewis sees as an “amazing opportunity” in being able to introduce cold-pressed, HPP juices to a new segment of consumers.
As for keeping up with demand from adding dozens of new distribution points, Lewis is confident that Lumi’s manufacturing infrastructure will be able to handle a surge in production. The company’s juicing facility was built for growth, Lewis said, and includes a Hiperbaric-built HPP machine as well as a range of new equipment, including a vegetable washer, intended to reduce time-consuming bottlenecks. Lumi’s initial funding is sourced from a family office, but Lewis said that the company would be looking for a new round of investment “in the next few weeks.”
At existing capacity, Lumi’s juicery is able to produces 25,000 16 oz. bottles of juice per week, and though Lewis declined to offer details on its current weekly production runs, she noted that, for the next few months, Lumi should be able to meet demand while focusing on same-store sales growth.
Nevertheless, Lewis is still thinking about the future, and in a bid to reach a broader market of consumers, Lumi is now testing a new 10 oz. bottle size, a package more quaffable for a mainstream market. Priced at $3.99-4.25, the juices are being test-marketed in Charlottesville and Richmond, Va., Lewis said.
Certainly, in an increasingly competitive and crowded market for cold-pressed products, reliable supply is as critical as any aspect of the category. Yet Lewis views the nascent market for ultra-premium juice as one in which all companies shoulder the burden of education and awareness. And while some brands remain thoroughly opposed to the use of HPP, she noted that the technology allows suppliers to bring much higher quality juice to the masses than what has been available.
“To me, this is about a family of individuals, and what we’re trying to do is create consumer beverages that use high pressure processing as a way to provide more nutrition and better-tasting products to people on-the-go,” Lewis said.