In a culture obsessed with celebrity diets, it’s easy to see why juice bars have become so popular. Case in point, media outlets have reported that pop icon Nicole Richie does a weekly juice cleanse — for health purposes only, of course. And, Us Weekly revealed supermodel Naomi Campbell just finished a 10-day juice cleanse.
Whether or not the celeb news is completely accurate, there’s no mistake that the Canadian juice market is growing exponentially every year, and operators are searching for a competitive edge.
The 2013 Technomic “Canadian Chain Restaurant Report” reveals Booster Juice, Jugo Juice, Orange Julius and Freshly Squeezed appear on the Top 200 list of top-earning franchises in Canada, with Booster Juice ranked as the highest-earning juice bar at number 34 and Jugo Juice a distant second at 82. “Consumers are more concerned than ever with making healthy choices,” explains Kelly Weikel, senior consumer research manager at Technomic, a Chicago-based research firm. “And, juicing as well as juice cleanses are trends helping the marketplace thrive.”
Case-in-point: Liquid Nutrition, a five-year-old, Montreal-based franchise, with 16 units worldwide, recorded a 33 per cent jump in sales from 2011 to 2012. Chantal Chamandy, co-founder, says juicing is the way of the future. “Juicing is here to stay. The reality is people do not consume enough vitamins, because they don’t eat enough raw vegetables,” she explains.
At Liquid Nutrition, between $6 to $10 worth of fruits and veggies are squeezed into a 16-oz. cup. “Our specialty blade-less juicing machines operate by compressing the juice out of the vegetables,” says Chamandy. “You get pure juice — no filler products such as water or any other liquids.” The juice bar offers a range of “functional beverages,” such as Inspire, a juice designed to fight toxins and cleanse the intestines, liver and kidneys. It’s made with cucumber, celery, lemon and kale ($5.95/12-oz).
Customers are indeed willing to pay a premium for quality. Just ask the staff at Fraser Valley Juice & Salad in Vancouver, a 35-year mainstay. “Customers complained a little when we raised the price of juices by 10 per cent,” two years ago due to inflation, explains Janice Lam, store manager, but whatever the complaints, it didn’t keep them away. Bestselling juices at Fraser Valley include ginger, mint and orange; beet, celery and carrot; and tropical juice (orange, kiwi, pineapple, strawberry) — each 16-oz glass costs $7.95. The
current bestselling single flavour juices are organic orange ($6.25/16-oz) and organic carrot ($7.50/16-oz).
When asked about trends, Lam laughs. “People always [ask] if a fruit or vegetable is organic,” she says. Either way, sales prove customers across the country believe the healthy elixir is worth every nickel.