By Brian Bixler
In the juice and smoothie space, Jamba Juice not only has the leading market share, it is recognized for its innovation which should encourage future growth, according to an industry guide published by Franchise Chatter.
Jamba Juice has cleverly positioned itself as a “healthy, active lifestyle brand,” which leaves possibilities for future product development wide open. Technomic Inc. places it in a specialty category among limited-service restaurants, along with other smoothie purveyors as well as snack and cafe businesses such as Pretzelmaker and NrGize Lifestyle Cafe.
Technomic puts Jamba Juice sales at $531 million for 2013, a 3.4 percent increase from the year before. Sales are coming from new products with higher profit margins.
“What you’re seeing is that juice has moved up and down to the very high end, up to 12 bucks (for a serving),” said Darren Tristano executive vice president of Technomic Inc. “And then you’ve got smoothies that have been shifted down to the McDonald’s price point. McDonald’s blew (the low-priced smoothie market) open.”
The good news for Jamba Juice, Tristano continued, is “a big consumption trend moving upward” and “the big loser in all this is the carbonated beverages.”
Jamba Juice Company started 2014 strong when it announced international plans for expansion by reaching an agreement with Foodmark, a division of Dubai-based Landmark Group. The agreement should lead to the opening of 80 Jamba Juice stores across the Middle East over the next 10 years with the first one set to open in Dubai sometime this year.
At the same time, Jamba Juice reinforced its brand by launching a line of “Whole Food Nutrition” smoothies and juices made with “straight-from-the-earth, whole-food ingredients.”
In addition, Jamba Juice announced that it had accelerated a roll-out plan for the expanded fresh-squeezed juice menu, beating its original target date by six months, and having it available in more than 500 Jamba Juice stores nationally as of June 2, instead of the end of the year as originally planned.
Jamba Juice dominates the industry with $500 million-plus sales compared to $39 million for such competitors as Robeks Fruit Smoothies & Healthy Eats and $16 million for Smoothie Factory, according to Technomic’s numbers.
But there are other big names in this race: Brands like Starbucks, Tropical Smoothie Cafe and the aforementioned McDonald’s, which opened the door for Dunkin’ Donuts to pair smoothies with doughnuts. And frozen yogurt stores such as Let’s Yo! and Red Mango have already added smoothies to their menus as nonseasonal offerings.
“I think we’re going to see more brands opening, and it’s going to be a slower growth rate,” Tristano said. “There will be 3 to 4 percent growth rate in limited-service (restaurant) growth over the next five years, but smoothie and juice won’t grow as fast as the fast-casual segment and Mexican and coffee chains.”