Starbucks is branching out into the juice bar business with its first store, Evolution Fresh, opening today in Washington.
According to Reuters, Evolution will sell fresh and bottled juices, food and smoothies, all with vegan and vegetarian options. CEO Howard Schultz is expected to make the formal announcement to Starbucks employees and shareholders on Wednesday, making the point that juice is the way of the future.
Starbucks purchased Evolution Fresh four months ago and has been steadily building up the brand. The health food business is currently booming, with over $50 billion revenue up for grabs. "Our customers are looking for a healthier lifestyle," Jeff Hansberry, president of Starbucks Channel Development told USA Today. "Juice and nutrition is no longer a fad. It's a full-blown trend."
USA Today was given a sneak peek inside the new store and reports that it has a clean look, with "mostly white walls, light woods and marble countertops. Juices are customized in an area where employees mix juices from eight taps while videos explain the benefits and options."
One thing noticeably absent from Evolution Fresh stores, however, is the Starbucks brand or logo. Even though Starbucks is the parent company, Hansberry explains, the mentality is to create two distinct brands. "We believe [Evolution Fresh] is a brand concept that stands out on its own."
While it's a little early for a full-fledged review, the public is already weighing in on Starbucks' decision. "Juice is full of sugar and calories and is not health food by a long shot," noted Yahoo user 1eyeopen.
"It's about time Starbucks started selling something good…" Art from Texas commented.
"I love Starbucks but have slowly [been] moving away from it because caffeine and I don't do well together. This would give me a healthier option so I can still visit the stores," added Nick Ross.