Jamba Juice to Give Starbucks Its Lumps

Oatmeal is the new egg sandwich it seems. Looking to offer consumers an inexpensive and healthy breakfast option, Jamba Juice is the latest to add oatmeal to its breakfast menu. Starbucks, whose CEO Howard Schultz is a significant investor in Jamba Juice, debuted oatmeal in the fall.

Today, Jamba Juice will begin offering oatmeal with slow cooked organic steel cut oats at Chicago locations. The item will roll out nationwide to its 749 stores next month. To celebrate the launch, it will “spread the warmth” by providing free oatmeal deliveries to workers in Chicago’s nonprofit community, including organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club and Feeding America.

It is also sponsoring a “knitfiti” art installation at the Jamba Juice located at 20 N Michigan Ave. Jamba Juice’s president and CEO James D. White shared his thoughts about the new offering as well as an explanation of what knitfiti is:

Brandweek: Why oatmeal?
James D. White: Jamba Juice is the trendsetter in the smoothie arena and our goal with the new oatmeal is to create a warm food option which similarly sets the bar for the hot breakfast category. With our Steel Cut Oatmeal with real fruit and organic oats, we’re targeting on-the-go people who are looking for a slow food experience in terms of taste and quality, but in a quick service format.
BW: How are you positioning it against Starbucks?
JW: It’s the end of instant [oatmeal]. Made with organic, steel cut oats, the new oatmeal takes 45 minutes to prepare but is available to customers immediately. Not only do we think our steel cut oats offer an improved texture and flavor versus the instant rolled oats available from competitors, they’re a good source of protein and fiber and make eating healthy while on-the-go easy in the morning. The new oatmeal comes with a choice of three real fruit toppings—blueberry-blackberry, apple cinnamon or fresh bananas–which also set us apart.  Rather than offering instant oatmeal to our customers, we’re bringing them the great taste of slow food served fast.
BW: How will you promote it?
JW: As part of our campaign, we’re reaching out to influencers like the food bloggers to compare Jamba Juice oatmeal to Starbucks’ product. We’re confident we’d win on taste and quality. Consumers have been settling for instant oatmeal because they haven’t had a better option that fit in their on-the-go lifestyle–until now. We think this is the best oatmeal in the market and it’s something that consumers are going to be very excited about.

BW: What the heck is knitfiti?
JW: Knitfiti (rhymes with graffiti) is a burgeoning underground movement in which guerrilla artists hit public property with handmade knitwear rather than markers and spray paint, warming and beautifying the space. We’ve created a community knitfiti installation at our 20 N. Michigan Avenue Jamba Juice location as part of the Chicago launch to bring a fun, literal representation of our message of spreading the warmth this holiday season with our great new oatmeal.
BW: What are your plans for 2009?
JW: Oatmeal is a continuation of our breakfast strategy that began in 2007 with our organic granola products: the Chunky Strawberry and our Toppers. We’ve built equity in good-for-you product with our smoothies and want to bring that philosophy to meals. We’re going to continue on this path of introducing meal options . . . so stay tuned.