Video: An Interview with Rachel Malsin of Project Juice

Certainly, the direct-to-consumer delivery model has been a key launching pad for marketers of raw juice products, particularly through the sale of packaged juice cleanse programs. Recently, however, a growing number of companies are attempting to enhance brand awareness while meeting growing demand and interest in raw juice via the construction of retail storefronts.

San Francisco-based Project Juice is one such company that has opened its own retail shop. In an interview with BevNET CEO John Craven, Rachel Malsin, who, along with her husband Greg, co-founded Project Juice, said that a storefront not only offers greater visibility for the brand, it also gives new consumers a chance to gain greater knowledge about the perceived benefits of raw juice and insight as to how the products are made.

“It’s definitely important, especially when you have a product that’s retailing for $9-10,” Malsin said. “People have a lot of questions, and I think they want to come in and sample the product and see who’s behind the brand. So, it’s definitely really important for us to have that close relationship with our customers.”

Launched in January, Project Juice sells a variety of raw juice products and cleanse programs on its website and recently opened its first store in the financial district of San Francisco. The company is planning to open several more storefronts in the area and hopes to catch a wider net of consumers with the shops as well as retail distribution of its bottled juice products.

However, the one trade-off to greater reach and distribution of the brand was that Project Juice, which had been selling non-pasteurized and non-high pressure processed (HPP) raw juice blends, would need a longer shelf life than three days. Malsin concluded that the company would need to begin using HPP for the products. Malsin said that safety concerns trumped the significant incremental costs associated with HPP, as well as somewhat of a backlash from purists who consider HPP to be adulterating raw juice.

“It is not something that should be taken lightly,” Malsin said. “Raw juice is very temperamental and definitely has a high chance of contamination. You really do need to be careful.  Juice has to have a protocol, and I’ve treated my two-person team as if we were a huge company manufacturing thousands of bottles a day.  I do ultimately think that is something that is going to propel us forward.”

In this video, Malsin offers much more on both the opportunities and challenges associated with the now burgeoning raw juice category, and her thoughts on why  greater accessibility of the products are benefiting all companies in the high-end segment. Malsin also explains how the storefront has propelled the growth of bottled raw juice as a meal replacement product, and shares a few tidbits about upcoming innovation from Project Juice.