Starbucks opened Monday its first Evolution Fresh concept unit in a Seattle suburb, the next step in the coffeehouse chain’s plan to capture part of the $3.4 billion juice market.
The new unit in Bellevue, Wash., is designed to offer a “premium juice and food experience,” Starbucks said. The menu includes wraps, salads, soups and both vegetarian and vegan offerings, along with Evolution Fresh cold-pressed juices in bottles and on tap.
Starbucks acquired the Evolution Fresh juice brand in November 2011, with plans to build the chain’s ready-to-drink beverage line. The company is building its distribution of Evolution Fresh bottled juices in both grocery channels and, later this year, in Starbucks locations.
With the acquisition, Starbucks also pledged to create a new juice-focused concept that would deepen its grasp of the estimated $50 billion health-and-wellness category.
“Evolution Fresh sets a new standard in premium cold-crafted juice,” said Jeff Hansberry, president of Starbucks’ channel development, in a statement. “We have a tremendous opportunity to change people’s lives, not only by making premium-quality, natural juices and foods more readily available, but also by offering an extensive variety of choices for customers to select the best options for their lifestyle.”
Fresh juices have been a growing category, with juice bar concepts popping up across the country and long-established smoothie chains like Jamba Juice beefing up their fresh-squeezed options.
Central to the menu at Starbucks’ new juice concept are the “hand-crafted” juices, made with Evolution Fresh’s high-pressure processing system, which does not use heat. The method is designed to preserve the nutrients and flavor of the fruits and vegetables used.
Juices on the Evolution Fresh menu range in price from $4.99 for an 8-ounce drink to $7.99 for 16 ounces, with options such as the Field of Greens, blending greens, ginger, apple and cucumber; or the Sweet Burn, with coconut water, pineapple, apple, beet, cayenne and ginger.
A line of smoothies, at $6.99 for a 16-ounce cup, are also on the menu, as well as hotitems, such as the Southwest Scramble with eggs, quinoa, black beans, roasted red peppers, spinach, feta and mild chile sauce; or steel-cut oatmeal.
At lunch and dinner, Evolution Fresh offers “Hot Simmer” bowls for $8.75, with ingredients such as lentils, wild rice and kale in the chain’s signature stock; a line of salads priced at $8.25 with the option of adding proteins like grilled steak orbreast; small-batch soups from $3.75 to $4.95, and sandwiches from $5.50 to $7.50.
Wraps are stuffed into collard green leaves instead of tortillas or flatbread, and guests can also choose from smaller bites, like roasted red pepper hummus or a cage-free boiled egg.
Healthful desserts are also on the menu, including a granola bar with Belgian chocolate, chocolate coconut mousse and a cinnamon raisin oatmeal cookie.
Calories and nutrient content of each item are listed on the menu.
The Evolution Fresh store also features an interactive juice wall that displays digital illustrations of juices and smoothies being hand crafted, the company said.
“Evolution Fresh is a revolutionary new approach to serve our changing lifestyles,” said Arthur Rubinfeld, president of Starbucks Global Store Development, in a statement. “The Evolution Fresh store offers super-premium juices and foods that are alive with fresh-picked, natural flavor and taste great.”
The location is designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification, the company said. Evolution Fresh also offers delivery service by bicycle with a minimum order of $15, and free Wi-Fi.
Starbucks executives told USA Today that several Evolution Fresh locations are scheduled to open in the Seattle area in the next 12 months and more are planned for both the West and East Coasts.