Starbucks to open new chain of Juice Bars, hoping to encourage a daily detox, as well as a daily caffeine fix

Starbucks is planning to launch a new brand with a health and wellness focus, in a head-on attack to Jamba Juice. The cornerstone of the new effort comes from the acquisition of Evolution Fresh, a small Southern California-based upscale fruit and vegetable juice maker, for $30 million. The new retail concept is set to launch in 2012 an will have a new name (yet to be announced).

Evolution Fresh juice is currently in grocery stores such as Safeway, Costco and Whole Foods on the West Coast. The company offers juices such as tangerine and organic ginger limeade. Starbucks plans to extend the distribution of the new brand to more retailers, including its own cafes. Starbucks also plans to open juice bars next year that will sell the Evolution Fresh brand as well as health foods.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said that acquiring Evolution Fresh is an important step toward entering the $1.6-billion premium juice business and the $50-billion health foods market. "Our intention is, over time, we would have a national footprint of juice stores positioned for health and wellness," Schultz said in a conference call.

The new chain will "redefine the super-premium juice category and experience" and offer a "wholesome portfolio" of food and beverages, Starbucks said. Starbucks will replace PepsiCo's Naked brand juices in their coffee shops with Evolution Fresh beverages.

Source: WSJ and the Los Angeles Times

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