It’s the year of the green juice

The new juice and smoothie customer is more conscious about ingredients

It’s January and you know what that means…consumers are looking for healthy options! No matter where you look, it is evident that juices and smoothies are back on the rise.

When Starbucks gets into the juicing biz, you know that something big is on the horizon.

READ: The evolution of juice

Smoothie chains are nothing new but many of these concoctions are little more than fruit milkshakes in disguise – loaded with juice concentrates and frozen yogurt.

Many bottled mass-market smoothies have more sugar than a can of cola. Savvy customers are catching on; the new juice and smoothie customer is more conscious about which ingredients are going into their drinks and how they are made.

What consumers are looking for are vegetables – and lots of them!

Sugar-conscious folks know that fruit-filled concoctions will contain a lot of excess sugars and opting for veggies, in particular green veggies like kale, spinach and celery will keep sugar content low.

Beets, carrots, parsley and fennel are also high on the grocery list.

How the juice or smoothie is processed also impacts nutrient content – especially the delicate plant anti-oxidants that offer great health benefits.

The key words here are cold-pressed and unpasteurized; the expectation is that these will be higher in nutrients than standard fare.

And while these beverages can be pricey, this movement looks like it isn’t going anywhere for a while. Here in Vancouver, cold-pressed juice companies are popping up like leafy greens.

Why all the fuss? Convenience.

Juices and smoothies are a simple way for consumers to get those 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables that all of us health professionals keep recommending! Particularly for green veggies, the stars of the juice movement, many people feel unfamiliar cooking with them – but adding greens to a drink is easier to swallow.

Rounding out your drinks mix with locally produced, cold-pressed juices will ensure that you have the offerings for your customers with a healthy appetite.

How to tackle smoothies?

Make it easier for customers to make them at home.

Some retailers are selling juice extractors and high-speed blenders.

Provide recipes for making juices and smoothies, whether free to the customer or through cookbook sales.

Another great way to make juicing simple and reduce produce waste is to create produce packs. Assemble assortments of fruits and vegetables for juices and smoothies. Try kale with apple, banana and lemon or beet with carrot and orange.

Let’s raise a glass to a healthy and prosperous New Year!