Starbucks To Enter Juicing Arena

Back in November Starbucks announced it would acquire Evolution Fresh, Inc after seeing success with expanded healthier menu items to deliver the nutritious, on-the-go options consumers are seeking.  The company believes it will be able to take a currently undifferentiated, commoditized product segment and introduce a unique, high-quality product to redefine and grow the super-premium juice market.  Basically, Starbucks is looking to do for juicing, what it did for coffee 40 years ago.

At first I thought this is great!  One of the real downfalls of juicing is that it’s not really convenient to find a good natural source when you are out of the home.  You might point out that there are a number of bottled juices and fruit smoothies these days, available at nearly every grocery, gas station and fast food location.  Yes, but take a close look at the ingredients that go into those quick drinks.  Many of them are packed with sugar, high fructose corn syrup or fruit flavors (i.e. not fruit).  Some of them are better than others and I do drink Naked or Odwalla juices from time to time, but they are not my main source of juicing.

So I did a little more reading into the type of juice Starbucks will be offering…

“Evolution Fresh was started by the original founder of Naked Juice, Jimmy Rosenberg. He decided to get back into the premium juice business to found Evolution Fresh, one of the only true juiceries left in the industry that still cracks, peels, presses, and squeezes its own raw fruits and vegetables. This was an opportunity to raise the quality and nutritional benefits in the juice category. Using an innovative technology new to juice called High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP), Evolution Fresh is able to deliver one of the only “never heated” juice products for an increasingly larger number of its offerings, ensuring fresh tasting and nutritious juices.”

OK, this sounds good right?  I like the fact that the juice is never heated (remember that heat kills the active cells and enzymes that your body wants), but what is this High Pressure Pasteurization?  Ohio State University says that High Pressure Processing (HPP) is a method of food processing where food is subjected to elevated pressures (up to 87,000 pounds per square inch or approximately 6,000 atmospheres), with or without the addition of heat, to achieve microbial inactivation or to alter the food attributes in order to achieve consumer-desired qualities.  HPP retains food quality, maintains natural freshness, and extends microbiological shelf life.  Apparently this process does not require heat to kill bacteria spores that may be present while keeping the juice tasting fresh and extending the shelf life.

Still sounds good, but why call it pasteurization?  Because along with squeezing & killing the bacteria spores, you squeeze & kill the cells and enzymes of the food.  This is called denaturation.  According to Oregon State: “Proteins are fundamental food components, both functionally and nutritionally….Denaturation are the changes in structure which cause changes in function.”  This means that when you juice at home, you are getting the every living cell in that food, functioning as you expect it to.  When you buy food that has been pasteurized, you are only getting a few of the living cells.  The rest are killed along with the bacteria spores.

So why all this scientific jargon?  I want you to be informed and draw your own conclusions.  I myself will likely try a juice at Starbucks because it will likely be convenient and way better than other fast food options.  However, I will also know that it will not provide the same health benefits that juicing my own produce provides.

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