Starbucks’s Supermarket Invasion, Now With Juice

Line of Evolution Fresh juices Courtesy Starbucks

Starbucks isn’t content taking over just your coffee break—your kitchen pantry is next.

As part of an expanding packaged-food effort that extends far past the coffee counter, Whole Foods markets across the country are now stocking Starbucks’s Evolution Fresh juices and its new line of Evolution Harvest snack bars. The juices, until now sold primarily at Starbucks locations, will be available in about 8,000 cafes and supermarkets by yearend.

Getting into grocery stores is part of a Starbucks strategy to combine “a global retail footprint with a significant consumer products business,” says spokeswoman Sanja Gould. The chain already offers bottled coffee drinks and Tazo tea drinks at non-Starbucks outlets, as well as packaged coffee beans and teas. The Evolution line will eventually move beyond juices and snack bars to include Greek yogurts made by Danone, which will first appear in Starbucks cafes next year and then hit supermarket shelves in 2015.

Whole Foods has carried Evolution Fresh juices in the past, but only on the West Coast. Now stores around the U.S. will sell the beverages, which have healthy-sounding names such as Super Green and Essential Vegetable. “Fresh-pressed juice has exploded in the last few months at Whole Foods,” says Liz Burkhart, a spokeswoman for the grocer, which also carries Naked Juice, Suja, and BluePrint juices. “Shoppers are asking for more options.” Evolution Fresh will retail for $4 to $6, making it “more accessible” than some of the other brands, she adds.

Starbucks, which used to carry Naked Juice at its coffee outlets, acquired Evolution Fresh in 2011 for $30 million. Researcher Euromonitor International estimates U.S. retail sales of premium juice grew 4.7 percent last year. Sales of Naked increased 18 percent, to $497 million, in 2012—so it seems consumers are thirsty even for high-end juices and smoothies.

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