Rise in Evolution Fresh’s Defense Up sales show consumers already are thinking about flu season

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Evolution Fresh’s Defense Up sales show flu season is top of mind

Related tags Nutrition

Even though it is still sweltering outside for most of the US, many consumers are starting to think about the upcoming cold and flu season and are reaching for products claimed to have immune-boosting properties, such as Evolution Fresh’s 'Defense Up' juice. 

The cold pressed juice and smoothie company notes that over the past three years the average weekly sales of Defense Up juice begin to increase in August and September, Anne Williams, VP of marketing and category for Evolution Fresh at Starbucks told FoodNavigator-USA.

She explains the increase reflects in part two major concerns that parents face when their children go back to school: An influx of germs from contact with so many new classmates and the need for nutritious products that can be packed easily in sack lunches.

“Our Defense Up is a great juice for back-to-school or overall because it is satiating and nutritious and delicious, can be taken on the go and it is great for immune health,”​ she said.

She explained that the juice is made with orange juice, pineapple juice, mango puree, apple juice and acerola cherry juice, and as a result each serving of Defense Up has two times the daily value of vitamin C, “which is well recognized as good for immunity.”

To further boost sales of the juice, Evolution Fresh created and is recipes with the juice that offer “fun and interesting ways to get it in their diet,”​ Williams said.

For example, she noted, “maybe you want to add a little ginger or turmeric to make it an even more powerful beverage or you can go in a Starbucks, pick up a Defense Up, give it to the barista and ask them to add a banana or a protein scoop and really make it a meal that gives you a little more immunity.”

Other more playful examples include making the juice into a spritzer for a mocktail that can be enjoyed any time of day or freezing it in popsicles healthy, sweet treat, according to the company.

Williams also said that the brand will provide in-store support for the beverage in the coming months.

Green juices do well in anti-sugar environment

While Defense Up is one of the company’s best-selling SKUs, Williams says other products that do comparably well are its green juices.

“People look to greens for nutrition and our green juices also are low in sugar because they are made largely with vegetables,”​ she explained.

By offering a line of low-sugar juices the company is defending itself against consumers’ increasing push-back against high amounts of sugar. Although some industry players suggest that this trend is becoming more nuanced as consumers learn more about the different types of sugar and as a result they are focusing their rejection more on added-sugar, rather than the naturally occurring types in juice.

Also in time for back-to-school the company’s new line of Organic Superfood Juices are gaining traction after their initial launch in March.

The line was inspired by Evolution Fresh Founder Jimmy Rosenberg’s morning ritual of blending superfood juice with nut milk and nutrient dense seeds, spices and other ingredients that help satiate the body, Williams said.

In particular, the line uses a base of coconut milk which “we like for the smoothness it brings the juice and that it is not super thick, which could hold people back from drinking the whole bottle. It also smooths out the flavors of the other ingredients and has less sugar than a juice blend or smoothie that has apple juice as its base,”​ she said. 

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1 comment

Correct me if I'm wrong...

Posted by Brandon Griffin - Ingredient Identity,

...but if Evolution Fresh's Defense Up is a juice smoothie i.e. food beverage, then talking about it here in this context of "immune-boosting" crosses the line when it comes to appropriate product labeling/marketing. Right? Something to be aware of. The name of the product is clever and well done to avoid such regulatory scrutiny of making claims as a traditional food/beverage...but this is one of those easy trip wires that exist in this space...would love to work with Starbucks to help ensure such things are vetted to avoid regulatory and/or legal risks associated with such things. :)

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