Shauna Martin survived cancer. Now she has to survive the California drought. The former corporate lawyer founded Daily Greens more than two years ago after discovering that people liked the organic, cold-pressed juices she made for herself as she recovered from breast cancer eight years earlier. Based in Austin, Daily Greens persuaded Whole Foods to help it buy commercial equipment, and now the juices are sold in several chains and online.
"We're expecting this year to be our biggest year ever, and either double or triple our revenues last year," Martin said, while standing next to a display of her juices inside a Whole Foods in Venice, California. This year's revenues could be around $10 million.
Profits, however, are more challenging. Organic produce prices are rising in part due to the drought, something Whole Foods management pointed out on its earnings call this week. Most of that produce comes from California this time of year.
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"As of this summer, celery, cucumber are at an all-time high," said Martin. "I'd say that over the last couple of years things have gone up probably about 50 percent."
Daily Greens is beginning to experiment with changing ingredients in order to bring down costs.
"Taste is very key, and so you have to be very careful," Martin said. She does not want to raise prices, as cold-pressed juices are already expensive. In fact, she recently lowered prices and admits margins may take a hit.
The drought isn't the only reason her costs are rising. There's also more demand for organic produce than there is supply, as it takes three years for a conventional farm to become organic. Daily Greens is negotiating directly with some farmers.
"One of our flavors has watermelon in it, and we have one of the only steady supplies in organic watermelon. I won't tell anybody where we get it from," Martin laughed. "It's top secret."