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October 9, 2013
by Chloe Brooks, Editorial Intern
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif.Starbucks Corp. announced the opening of its new Evolution Fresh juice factory in Rancho Cucamonga on Oct. 9. The $70-million, state-of-the-art juicery" is expected to quadruple Starbucks production of Evolution Fresh cold-pressed natural juices and allow the company to meet the growing demand of the $1.6 million super-premium juice category.
The 264,000-square-foot facility replaces the existing Evolution Fresh juice plant in San Bernardino, Calif., and is Starbucks' sixth U.S. production site, joining five roasting plants in Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington. The plant will retain nearly all employees from the former facility, and 65 of the new facility's 190 employees will hold newly created positions.
The new facility is one of the largest high-pressure processing (HPP) juiceries in the United States capable of sourcing, peeling, squeezing and pressing raw fruits and vegetables. Using state-of-the-art technology, including multiple HPP machines with ample room for more, the new juicery allows the brand to significantly increase innovation, production and distribution capacity.
The produce used in Evolution Fresh juices are sourced locally when attainable, making Rancho Cucamonga the ideal location for providing fresh tasting, nutrient-rich juice," Evolution Fresh General Manager Chris Bruzzo said. By building this new facility from the ground up, close to where our produce grows, we are not only able to provide nutritious juice, but also support the local community."
Starbucks is the first major coffee chain to invest so heavily in the nearly $23 billion juice industry, which according to the research group IBISWorld, has grown an average of 4.2% per year since 2008. The company acquired Evolution Fresh for $30 million in 2011, and opened the first Evolution Fresh store just four months later in 2012. The initial store in Belleview, Wash., was followed by two more in Seattle and one in San Francisco. The line has already met and exceeded the company's goal to be in 8,000 Starbucks and Whole Foods Market locations by year's end.
The investment is a chance for Starbucks to reach a broader clientele as health-conscious consumers, move away from high-sugar, high-calorie drinks like those for which Starbucks is famous. Frappuccinos® range from 69 grams of sugar per serving in the Caffé Vanilla flavor to 21 grams in the Cinnamon Dolce Lite, while Evolution Fresh beverages contain anywhere from 34 grams per serving (Defense Up Smoothie) to 6 grams (Essential Greens with Lime).
Seven of the company's 20 flavorsorange, tangerine, carrot apple, strawberry lemonade, ginger limeade, carrot gingerade and "OrganicV"are certified organic. And due to the high-pressure processing (HPP) production method Evolution Fresh uses, the beverages have a longer shelf life without using preservatives.
The juice line is just one of many ways Starbucks is looking to branch out beyond coffee. In July it announced a collaboration with Danone to create a new Evolution Fresh line of Dannon-inspired specialty yogurts, expected to be available in Starbucks stores in Spring 2014 and in grocery retailers in 2015. In November 2012 it acquired Teavana Holdings, Inc., which along with its Tazo ownership put Starbucks in a position to lead the tea industry. And in June 2012 it bought the San Francisco-based La Boulange Bakery® brand. The French-inspired pastries, both sweet and savory, have been slowly introduced in major cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Chicago, New York and Boston, but are expected to be in all Starbucks stores by July 2014.
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