Jamba Juice Goes Green

Dance contest pushes new health drinks

Jamba Juice has decided to jump with both feet into the business of green juices, blended mixtures of whole vegetables such as kale, cucumber and beets. Starting this month, the company is expanding its menu to include veggie juices in most of its U.S. stores and launched an online dancing contest to get the word out.

A handful of Jamba outlets test-marketed the green juices in the first half of 2014, and the company said there was an overall 3-4 percent sales lift in those stores. The made-to-order vegetable drinks, priced at $5- $6.50, also include yogurt, apples, mangoes and other fruit.

“Many on-the-go people want to eat a half plate of fruit and veggies with each meal, so we offer a way to do that without a knife and fork,“ said Julie Washington, Jamba Juice's chief brand officer. Focusing on nutrition helps position the brand as an approachable, innovative leader in the health and wellness segment, she added.

None too soon, experts said. “Because many people perceive Jamba as having high-calorie, high-fructose smoothies, the brand is on the verge of losing its credibility to ‘healthier’ companies like Pressed Juicery,” said Kevin O’Donnell, senior partner at brand consultancy Prophet. “Being able to crank out tasty, high-nutrient, low-[sugar] beverages could be a big repositioning opportunity for them,” he said.

But did we mention the new mixtures are, well, green? More than a quarter of consumers “fear the look ” of veggie juices and a third prefer the flavor of fruit-based drinks, per a 2014 national survey by YouGov. At the same time, one in five people admitted that they’d rather drink their beets, kale and spinach than eat them.
To overcome the taste hurdle, Jamba is using in-store sampling and promotions. 

New marketing targets young, creative, fitness-minded people. The linchpin is the "Blend in the Good" Dance Contest, unveiled May 29 in partnership with the DanceOn YouTube network.  People are asked to submit videos of their freestyle dance moves using the #BlendintheGoodContest and #JambaJuice hashtags. “The contest gives us a relevant way to speak about nutrition without being the parental voice of Jamba,” said Washington.