Heath Conscious Era Fuels Smoothie & Juice Franchise Industry

Smoothie and are healthy and hot. "Juice and smoothies, including and bars, frozen stores, and the mix segment, are forecasted to be approximately $2 billion in sales for 2006," says Dan Titus, president of Juice Gallery Multimedia, a consulting and company concentrating on the needs of juice bars and start-ups.

Brands such as Jamba Juice, Maui Wowi, Planet Smoothie, Surf City Squeeze, and even Baskin-Robbins, will continue to benefit from the changing consumer patterns of healthier eating habits and on-the-go lifestyles. According to Titus, the juice and smoothie segment should continue to expand as operators continue their push into open territories and into niche markets such as supermarkets, airports, and educational institutions.

Colorado-based Maui Wowi has been taking smoothies to the people for more than two decades. The company was founded on a cart concept that allowed operators to transport their products to consumers at festivals, fairgrounds, arenas, and convention centers. Today more than 380 Maui Wowi carts, kiosks, and trailers are selling juices and drinks in 42 states.

"Our approach is an effective way to provide great drinks and juices to the events industry-crowds at festivals, fairs, concerts, and all kinds of community activities," says Maui Wowi CEO Michael Haith. The company recently expanded its product line to include Hawaiian-themed and juice drinks and has begun opening some brick-and-mortar stores. "It provides another option for our operators and our customers, but our cornerstone will remain our carts, which offer the perfect combination of mobility, flexibility, and reduced operational costs," says Haith.

In late 2005, Jamba Juice, with more than 500 company and franchised sites in 26 states, launched kiosks of its own in Safeway, Vons, and Pavilions stores in the western United States. The kiosks in the Safeway stores offer the same menu of smoothies, juices, and snacks found in its freestanding stores. Many of the Safeway kiosks are positioned in the front section of the store, near the produce section, making a visual connection between Jamba Juice's ingredients and the supermarket's fruit and vegetables.

"By forging a strategic partnership with a market-leading chain such as Safeway, we serve people in a way that addresses their needs for convenience," says Paul Clayton, Jamba's chief executive officer. "Safeway is a perfect partner for Jamba Juice in that we share the same values around promoting healthy, positive living, and in delivering excellent customer service, quality products, and an energizing shopping experience."

The partnership helps Jamba Juice diversify its existing chain of freestanding and shopping center store locations, and provides a way for Safeway customers to slurp while they shop. Safeway covers the cost of the in-store kiosks, while the partners split the revenue.

However you mix it, blend it, or spin it, this market is something to get juiced about.

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