Americans are juiced up, and companies hope to clean up on cleansing.
Beverage Industry Magazine predicts sales of juice smoothies and yogurt drinks will grow four percent a year through 2015, when annual revenues will reach $1.1 billion. Starbucks is buying Evolution Fresh to do for juices what it's done for coffee, and Jamba Juice is expanding its juice-only offerings, "with more to come," says CEO James D. White.
Then there are all the small businesses growing big quickly.
Take BluePrintCleanse, a six year old company based in New York.
"It was born out of necessity," says co-founder Erica Huss. Huss says her partner, Zoe Sakoutis, used a "cleanse" a decade ago to conquer a cold — a liquid only diet of juices and water. It worked, but Sakoutis found the whole concept of juicing and cleansing off-putting to most people. She had a background in nutrition, Huss in public relations, and decided to create a company that made cleansing "more accessible". They launched BluePrintCleanse six years ago with a $5,000 loan from a family member, making all of their own juices.
The company grew, and then suddenly surged last year after Whole Foods agreed to carry BluePrintCleanse juices in its New York stores. "That has grown exponentially," Huss says. "We started in 2006 out of a little kitchen in Chelsea, and now we have 10,000 square feet out in Long Island City and an additional facility in L.A."
Speaking of Los Angeles, juicing and cleansing are old news in La La land, but that doesn't mean sales have stalled. Pressed Juicery has grown from one store on LA's west side to a second store in West Hollywood and now a truck in Malibu. "It's a juice truck, and people love it there," says regional director of sales Jasmine Jacobson. "It's kind of a staple of the neighborhood."
Cleansing is not a cheap habit. Pressed Juicery's program costs $48.50, which buys you six servings of juice and two specialized waters. The average cleanse lasts three to five days, though it can go longer. Individual bottles of juice cost $6.50. "Sometimes people have a hard time wrapping their heads around, 'Well, it's just juice. Why is it $6.50?'" Jacobson says. "Yeah, it's just juice. We're talking unpasteurized juice — there's no additives, there's no preservatives, we've just pressed it this morning."
BluePrintCleanse's program costs $65 a day, with individual bottles costing $6 to $10. It's become a surprising hit on Wall Street, where the company's juice bottles are reportedly often spotted in the cafeteria at Goldman Sachs, even among men. Huss says that while 80 percent to 90 percent of her customers are female, "the male clients that we have are very loyal." She says men tend to cleanse in groups. "I think there's kind of a sense of brotherhood, camaraderie, competition, whatever you want to call it, but we definitely see significant numbers of groups of dudes drinking juice together."
Some doctors warn that juicing and cleanses should be done only in short spurts. As for losing weight, many juices, according to some reports have more sugar in them than sodas. Not only is the cleansing procedure expensive, it's hard. As Lisa Baumgartner was buying something to drink at Pressed Juicery this week — "a root drink, it has some greens in it" — we asked her if she's ever gone for the full cleanse.
"At my Buddhist center, people were doing it just to be healthy, so I tried it," she says. "But I only lasted three days because the smell of food would take over and I got, like, faint."