Certainly, the cold-pressed juice category has benefited from strong awareness in the natural channel whose consumers, drawn by the perceived higher quality and nutritional benefits of the beverages, have propelled volume growth and sales. Yet while shelves at natural channel giants like Whole Foods and Sprouts are bursting with a variety of brands, those at conventional grocers are, despite an American public reaching for healthier drinks, still on the thin side.
The gap spelled opportunity for Evolution Fresh. The Starbucks-owned company recently launched a new six-SKU line of 11 oz. bottles that was designed to bolster brand presence and sales in mainstream retailers and tap into the vast well of consumers that have grown up on pasteurized super-premium juice brands like Naked and Odwalla.
“For as much work that has been done in the cold-pressed juice space, we’re only very, very nascent,” said Evolution Fresh president Jeff Hansberry. “We’re at the very, very beginning.”
While Suja, one of the top-selling brands in the category, has carved a path to mainstream with the creation of Essentials — a line of juices that priced around $4 per 12 oz. bottle represent a more affordable option than its 16 oz. Classic line — Evolution Fresh will use its 11 oz. bottle to replace or bolster the selection of 15.2 oz. bottles in conventional grocers; ultimately, it will grocer’s decision on the product mix, according to a company spokesperson. The larger size will continue to be represented in natural and specialty retailers.
“Our 15.2 oz. speaks to a customer who really understands buys in to the idea that they can use cold-pressed juice to deliver the fruits and vegetables and nutrition that they need everyday,” Hansberry said. “But for every one person who gets that, there are at least 30 that don’t. And what an 11 oz., for us, enables us to do is to make great cold-pressed juice more accessible to a significantly broader audience.”
Hansberry also noted that “15.2 ounces is a lot of juice,” and is often viewed a meal replacement-sized beverage, the 11 oz. bottle represents an opportunity to be an on-the-go option for someone “who wants to make sure they’re getting their daily fruits and vegetables,” that can accompany a meal versus replacing one.
Debuting in conventional grocers across the country, including Ahold-owned banners Stop & Shop, Giant Food, Giant Food Stores and Martin’s Food Markets, the new line comes in six varieties: Green Devotion, Emerald Greens, Essential Vegetable, Green Grove, Berry Beet and Mango Green.
While Evolution Fresh has expanded its variety of USDA certified organic juices for its 15.2 oz. line, the 11 oz. products are not made with organic ingredients. Hansberry said that while “organic is important for a segment of customers,” he noted that Evolution Fresh is attempting to serve “a broad spectrum of customers” and pointed to an overall focus on quality, a strong commitment to source locally for most of its fruits and vegetables, and non-GMO verification for nearly its entire line, aspects of the brand that are of strong importance to its retail customers and consumers.
“For us, it’s about building a long-term business to serve a broader base of consumers,” Hansberry said. “It’s about extending beyond those who are very health-conscious and aware to many people who might be aspiring wellness seekers, who are… starting to take some steps but maybe don’t know quite know how and maybe are shopping at places that may not have as many of the kinds of of the wellness offers that we might see in the natural channel or in premium grocery stores.”
At $3.99-$4.79, depending on variety, the 11 oz. juices are in line with current price points for Evolution Fresh’s 15.2 oz. products. That will change. Across the board, higher costs for produce, transportation and processing of the juices will result in a price hike for the larger sized juices, though it’s unclear exactly when consumers will see the bump.
What is clear (literally) is the new Evolution Fresh package. Now filled in custom-molded PET containers, both the 11 oz. and 15.2 oz. showcase the juice in a transparent bottle. The launch of the package was timed to debut with that of the new line and also includes a label refresh that was designed to put more emphasis on the name of each variety.
Editor’s note: An earlier version or this story incorrectly stated that Evolution Fresh’s new 11 oz. bottle will replace the 15.2 oz. size in conventional grocery stores.