Is breakfast juice finally getting its due at restaurants?

Is breakfast juice finally getting its due at restaurants?

With coffee and tea getting so much attention among foodservice players, other stalwart beverage sales drivers such as juice may be getting overlooked. But Packaged Facts’ proprietary June 2013 consumer survey results published in Foodservice Breakfast Trends in the U.S., 2nd Edition suggest that foodservice juice purchases are alive and well, thank you: the last time foodservice breakfast users (who had gotten breakfast/breakfast snacks in the past 30 days) got breakfast or a breakfast snack from a foodservice outlet, some 30% got juice.

But more broadly, juice innovation lags far behind coffee and tea innovation. For example, with respect to orange juice, many major restaurant brands choose to draw the line at offering retail branded juice. But in an innovation-crazed environment, orange juice LTOs are as rare as unicorns.

Nonetheless, juice is poised for some of the limelight, buoyed by its status as a better-for-you beverage.  Juice bars such as Organic Avenue (New York City), jugofresh (Miami), and The Gem (Dallas) are a growing trend.  And major chains, led by Jamba Juice and Starbucks, are beginning to tap the power of juice.

In 2012, snack and beverage chain Jamba Juice rolled out a fresh juice platform to add value to its beverage menu and strengthen its health and wellness brand positioning.  With the new fresh juice offering, the company introduced a range of new fresh ingredients including kale, beets, lemon, pineapple, and apple to be freshly squeezed in front of the consumer.  The availability of a variety of ingredients means an endless variety of juice combinations for the consumer. In 2012, juice accounted for a relatively small 6% of Jamba Juice sales; however, juice beverage share of sales will likely increase as its fresh juice platform continues to gain momentum. 

And with Evolution Fresh, Starbucks is also focusing on juice as an area of growth-creating competition for peers such as Jamba Juice as well as enhancing its breakfast beverage options.  Evolution Fresh Café introduces customers to a premium juice and food experience. Offerings combine fresh, natural ingredients with culinary and globally inspired recipes, with each order personalized and handcrafted. Menu items include handcrafted natural juices, smoothies, bottled beverages, and breakfast, lunch, dinner, and sweet treat menus.

Can family restaurant chains follow?

Jamba Juice and Starbucks’ juice initiatives will likely draw interest from other snack and beverage and quick-service restaurant chains. A bit further down the road, we envision family restaurant chains to experiment more with their juice platforms, if only incrementally.

After all, juice captures a 12% share of beverage menu items-making it the second most available type of beverage at family/midscale restaurants.  Customization and flavor blending opportunities could help these restaurants create exciting juice beverages that leverage health properties.