Smooth it Over


Good flavour plus good nutritional value equals a killer smoothie

It’s the perfect energy boost at the end of a tedious muscle-shaping, cardio-killing workout and the ideal tantalizing summer treat to put some pep in your step during an arduous shopping excursion.

The smoothie has come a long way from its roots as a snack for hippie vegetarians in the 1960s. In fact, since 2007, the cold smoothie market has ballooned an average of six per cent each year in Canada. If that upward climb continues, more than 41-million servings of the ice-cold thirst quencher will be doled out by year-end, reports the NPD Group.


A quick inspection of smoothie chains across the country is further proof of its success, as en vogue drinks with superfoods and Matcha green tea top the ingredient list. At the Calgary-based Jugo Juice, a whole section is devoted to superfood smoothies with offerings like Pom-e-berry, Absolutely Açai and Green Tea Buzz. It’s a similar story at the Edmonton-based Booster Juice, which sells Matcha Monsoon and High-Impact Açai.

But as palates continue to evolve, so too should the menu; at least that is the idea at Bula Smoothie & Nutrition Bar in Hamilton, Ont. Owners, Stephanie Watson and Kevin Pressburger, hired Dana McCauley and Associates Ltd., a boutique consultancy firm in Toronto, to formulate their recipes. McCauley suggested creating new blends for foodies to fill a gap in the industry. And, so the Chef’s Creations section was born with drinks like Bittersweet Chocolate, Mango and Chipotle; Cranberry Thyme and Balsamic Glazed Strawberries with Basil. “Straw-berry and balsamic is a really sort of classic California kind of thing, and we thought: ‘hey, that could work in a smoothie as well,’” recalls McCauley.

The drive to turn out original recipes continues at Jugo Juice. “[One] of our top-selling smoothies is…Cherry Chill, made with real cherries, mango, cranberry juice and tropical nectar. No other competitors carry a cherry smoothie,” boasts Derek Brock, co-founder and director of Real Estate and Store Development for the smoothie chain.

Despite the trends in flavour, good nutritional content is a key component of the cool snack. At Jugo Juice, sorbet has been removed from its drinks. “Sorbet, and other fillers, are often added to smoothies to enhance the flavour and add bulk. Instead of these artificial additives, every Jugo Juice smoothie is packed with five (plus) servings of fruit,” notes a declaration on the website. “To give customers a more pure and premium flavour, all our smoothies are made with 100-per-cent juice and real fruit,” adds Brock,

Bula’s Watson was also intent on selling a healthy product with quality ingredients, like high-end whey protein powder. Many of her drinks, like the Life Preserver, also pack a nutritional punch often posing as a meal in a cup. It contains fruit, orange juice, multi-vitamins and oat bran.

Good flavour combined with good nutritional value is the goal at places like Bula. “You can go anywhere and get a strawberry-banana smoothie,” says Watson. “We have that, but we’re trying to deliver a completely different experience.”

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