If you wait long enough, what’s old becomes new again. And just like low-slung, wide-leg jeans, juice—which saw a dip in popularity in recent years—is back. Only this time, the hunger-inducing “cleanses” and “detoxes” of the mid-2000s are staying in the past. We’re leaving juicing behind but keeping the juice and in 2022, more juice shops will sprout up all across the country, including in your neighborhood.
Ashley Carter, RD, a Well+Good Wellness Trends Advisor and co-founder of EatWell Exchange, a nonprofit organization that uses nutrition education to decrease health disparities in low socioeconomic communities, says that, while your diet won't prevent you from contracting COVID-19, the pandemic has inspired more people to seek out foods and drinks that help support their immune system. And that includes juice. “I live in Miami, where there are prominent Caribbean and Latinx cultures. Natural fruit juices have long been a part of these cultures, but during the pandemic, people outside of these communities have started consuming more juice,” says Carter.8.9%
Data supports Carter’s observation: The refrigerated juice and drinks category rose 8.9 percent in 2020 from pre-pandemic days. “Fruit beverages are one of the few categories that have actually experienced improved performance due to the pandemic,” Gary Hemphill, the managing director of research for Beverage Marketing Corporation, told Beverage Industry in July.
If you want to get the most nutrition out of your juice as possible, it’s best to drink ones that are made fresh without added sugar or preservatives. Such juices, however, don’t last as long in your fridge (or on store shelves). It’s for this reason that Charlie Wettlaufer, president and CMO of cold-pressed juice equipment company Goodnature, says growth in the juice industry in 2022 will be driven by smaller juice shops that make the goods on demand when you order them, rather than by big brands that create less nutrient-dense juices with longer shelf lives.
If you want to get the most nutrition out of your juice as possible, it’s best to drink ones that are made fresh without added sugar or preservatives. Such juices, however, don’t last as long in your fridge (or on store shelves).
"There have been more juice shops opening than ever before, even compared to the previous ‘peak juice’ period of 2014 and 2015," says Wettlaufer. "Our web traffic is double what it was last year." Another sign businesses in the fresh-pressed juice space are thriving: Wettlaufer says that he expects upwards of 400 attendees at Goodnature’s 2022 JuiceCon, an annual event that brings together local juice shop and franchise location owners from all across the country, which is double the number present at 2019’s conference.
Pedro Arroyo, founder of Juguitos in Springfield, Massachusetts, is just one of many people who opened a juice shop during the pandemic. “Looking around my community, I noticed there weren’t any healthy [food or drink] options whatsoever,” he says. So he decided to do something about it by opening his own juice shop. Ever since Juguitos opened its doors in May 2021, “sales have steadily increased 10 to 15 percent every month,” Arroyo says. Greenheart Juice, located in Virginia, also saw enough growth in 2021 (230 percent year-over-year) that the shop’s wellness director Matt Cahir says it’s planning to open two additional locations in the coming year, both in the D.C. area.
New markets are on the horizon for juice franchises (businesses in which the owners sell licenses for others to open up shop and distribute their goods or services) as well. “We have had a surge in franchise interest and are excited to have many stores in development for 2022,” says Alexis Schulze, the co-founder and chief visionary officer of Nekter Juice Bar, which has 170 locations across the country and makes juices fresh-to-order for customers. “The buzz around [freshly made] juice is not slowing down any time soon,” she says.
Juice It Up! is another juice bar chain that’s experiencing a surge in popularity. Sales have been so high in 2021 that Juice It Up! is ending the year with its highest revenue since the first location opened 26 years ago. Because of this, they’re opening even more locations in 2022. “As 2021 comes to an end, we expect to near 100 locations open for business—with that number projected to rise considerably in 2022,” says Noah Burgess, director of food science at Juice It Up!
"There have been more juice shops opening than ever before, even compared to the previous ‘peak juice’ period of 2014 and 2015." Charlie Wettlaufer, president and CMO of Goodnature
Well+Good Wellness Trends Advisor Maya Feller, RD, is all for people heading to their neighborhood juice shops. “I have always prescribed juice to my patients,” she says. “If you drink a green juice once per day, it’s an excellent way to get a concentrated amount of minerals—[it’s] essentially a food multivitamin,” she says.
To maximize your juice’s health-boosting potential, Feller and Wellness Trends Advisor Jasmine Westbrooks, RD, co-founder of Eat Well Exchange, offer a few tips: Reach for juices that have more veggies than fruits; sip your juice with a meal or snack high in protein and healthy fats (like nuts) for balance; and leave juice cleanses and “detoxes” in the mid-aughts. “You miss out on so many nutrients when you’re just consuming juice,” Westbrooks says, emphasizing that juice is one of many ways to support a healthy body, not the only way.
Juice isn’t a cure-all, but with nutrient-dense versions of the wellness-favorite beverage back on the menu, 2022 is looking fruitful for health-conscious consumers.
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