How Evolution Fresh Redefines the Super-Premium Juice Market
From farm to juicing to the consumer, Evolution Fresh is at the forefront of cold-pressed juice thanks to innovative HPP technology.
Jimmy Rosenberg craved “the chase.” All he wanted to do was deliver authentic and delicious freshly squeezed juices. So, he began squeezing fresh juice on the beaches of Santa Monica, Calif. That’s when he founded Naked Juice.
Company: Evolution Fresh, division of Starbucks Coffee Co.
Headquarters: Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Top Executive: Jeff Hansberry, president
No. of Employees: 400
Distribution: Whole Foods Market, Starbucks
After selling the Monrovia, Calif., company, Rosenberg spent the next several years as an organic lettuce farmer, only to in 1993, found Evolution Fresh, what is said to be one of the only juiceries today that still sources, peels, presses and squeezes many of the raw fruits and vegetables used in its juices.
Then, in 2011, Starbucks Coffee Co., Seattle, acquired the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based juice processor, thus re-launching the Evolution Fresh brand with new retail stores, an expanded distribution network and a label refresh to better communicate to its consumers the advantages of high-pressure processing (HPP) technology.
However, it’s the company’s ability to tap into cutting-edge trends and remain one of the first juice companies to employ the cold-pressed, HPP technology that deemed Evolution Fresh as Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2015 Refrigerated Foods Processor of the Year.
Pioneers of HPP
“HPP is a method of applying an enormous amount of pressure to already sealed bottles of juice,” says Brian Jameson, vice president, supply chain operations. “The amount of pressure is equivalent to sending the juice four times deeper than the deepest part of the ocean.”
Case in point: HPP helps keep the juice safe while safeguarding the nutrients and taste.
“Our cold-pressed HPP juices are held to the same safety standards as pasteurized juices,” he adds. “In other words, all Evolution Fresh juices are processed according to FDA regulations for safety to ensure a 5-log pathogen reduction. The process is cold from the moment the produce reaches the juicery, through the juicing process and to when the bottles are delivered by refrigerated trucks to their final distribution.”
In October 2013, Evolution Fresh opened the doors to a new state-of-the-art facility in Rancho Cucamonga, which features the latest in HPP technology. (Take a tour of the Rancho Cucamonga juicery in Enhancing the Premium Juice Market with HPP Technology).
“With the new juicery in Rancho Cucamonga, we also have a geographic advantage, placing our facility near the farms where much of the produce we use is grown. That helps us to foster great relationships with farmers and to shrink the time between harvest and production,” adds Jameson. “And, finally our distribution into Starbucks stores is a unique advantage that helps us use our vast retail footprint to increase the availability of delicious, nutritious cold-pressed juices.”
In addition to HPP, Evolution Fresh maintains decades of experience in the industry.
“Since the early days when Jimmy was selling raw juice on the beaches of Santa Monica to being one of the juice pioneers in HPP technology, we have continued to drive innovation and re-invention in the juice industry and be at the forefront of cold-pressed juice,” says Jameson.
This past year, the full line of Evolution Fresh cold-pressed green juices began distribution to 7,200 Starbucks company-operated locations nationwide and to grocery retailers in all 50 states. The company’s top sellers in Starbucks stores continue to be Sweet Greens with Lemon, Orange Juice and Defense Up, a vitamin C-packed smoothie comprised of juicy orange, pineapple, mango, apple and acerola cherry.
“In grocery, we have seen great response to our green juice portfolio,” says Jameson. “While encouraging customers to consume more fruits and vegetables is not a new trend, more shoppers are seeking the health benefits of drinking green juice. [That’s why] we developed a wide range of green juices from Smooth Greens to Essential Greens with Lime, which make drinking green juice more approachable.”
Furthermore, nearly 82% of the produce used to process these juices is grown within 400 miles of the juicery. Evolution Fresh cold chain management begins with proper post-harvest handling and is measured and maintained by Evolution Fresh throughout the entire manufacturing and distribution process to ensure that the cold chain remains intact.
“We were one of the first juice companies to employ the HPP juice technology as part of our cold-pressed process,” says Jameson. “The HPP technology helps us keep juice safe while helping to protect the nutrients and the delicious, vibrant taste. Leveraging Starbucks’ unique model—retail footprint, CPG grocery distribution channels, digital breadth and in-depth customer engagement—we are able to redefine and grow the super-premium juice market.”
Evolution Fresh Undergoes Packaging Refresh
Shortly after Starbucks Coffee Co., Seattle, acquired Evolution Fresh, the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based juice processor underwent a packaging refresh.
The redesign, done by Hornall Anderson, Seattle, consisted of hand-crafted “flavor sunbursts” to represent the full spectrum of juice blends and ingredients. And, the bold colors, one for each SKU, help differentiate each juice blend from the next.
Along with Evolution Fresh juices, Starbucks also introduced Evolution Harvest, a line of bars, trail mixes and fruit snacks made from natural ingredients.
Evolution Fresh Kitchens Serve Culinary Offerings with Better-for-You Ingredients
Evolution Fresh, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., also manages retail locations in San Francisco, Seattle, and Bellvue, Wash., called Evolution Fresh kitchens, which offer hand-crafted, customized dishes. Each retail location serves cold-pressed juices, smoothies and better-for-you foods made with a cornucopia of vegetables, whole grains and proteins.
Menu items include a selection of salads, hot bowls, zesty wraps, toasted cheese sandwiches and morning delights with quinoa, baby spinach, zucchini, kale, avocado and fresh herbs.
“From a brand perspective, these kitchens offer us the opportunity to directly interact with our customers and respond to feedback, as well as leverage the innovations our partners (employees) develop to respond to customer requests,” says Brian Jameson, vice president. “An example of this would be the Avocado smoothie first created in our Evolution Fresh Kitchen, which later inspired our Organic Avocado Greens Smoothie developed exclusively for Whole Foods Market.”
CLICK HERE to take a tour of the Rancho Cucamongo, Calif., juicery.