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How do they do it? “It isn’t easy,” says Hicks. “We take the best bare-naked fruits available and juice them to perfection. Plus, you’d be surprised how much juice you can fit into one 15.2-oz. bottle when we leave out all those fillers, water, sugar, artificial colors and flavors.”
“Despite the overwhelming evidence that eating more fruit brings strong health benefits, families are busy and don’t have time to clean and peel fruit before they run from one commitment to another,” says director of marketing Kimber Ward. “Our products’ grab-and-go convenience and innovative flavors allow the time-challenged to incorporate fruit into their daily diets, particularly during stressful times when tempted to grab an unhealthy snack.”
Available in the refrigerated section — think fruit in a bottle — Naked Juice is kept at temperatures below 38°F, and the suggested retail price for a 15.2-oz bottle is a pricey $3.
All of the ingredients are hand-inspected by the quality assurance team, who reject several trucks of fruit daily. Safety is equally important. “All our juices and smoothies are gently pasteurized [via flash pasteurization] to provide a great tasting product that doesn’t compromise safety,” explains Hicks. “They are heated quickly and brought back to a cold temperature in a flash, so the natural bacteria found in produce are destroyed while keeping nutritional benefits, aromas and original flavors intact.”
Naked Juice makes it easy for juice-lovers and juice newbies alike to pick among inventive flavors to match a spectrum of lifestyle needs. It divides its products into functional categories so consumers can easily choose the right drink for specific nutritional benefits.
“The line is divided into what we call functional families — each family gives you a different group of benefits,” says new CEO Monty Sharma. All-natural, 100 percent juices, smoothies and protein smoothies include:
Products are certified kosher by the Orthodox Union. They are gluten-free and without added sugar, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors. Speaking of the label, Naked Juice has re-branded its full line with contemporary, colorful packaging, under the leadership of Sharma. “It includes realistic fruit graphics on the front panel, the exact amount of fruit per bottle on the side panel, as well as the added ‘boosts,’ such as vitamins, echinacea, blue-green algae and soy protein,” says Sharma. “The tagline is ‘A Pound of Fruit in Every Bottle.’
“We added Naked Juice Rainforest Açai and Naked Juice Pomegranate Açai to our heart-healthy antioxidant line in January,” he adds. “The Açai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) berry, with its blend of amino acids and essential omegas, also contains high levels of flavanoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants offering free radical zapping power. Açai berries contain 10-30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.”
“One of the advantages of being a smaller company is the ability to quickly change recipes of products based on input from consumers,” says Ward. “Over the years, we’ve enhanced flavors by rebalancing the fruits, added more fruits or added different fruits.”
Naked Juice received a big boost in 2000, when private equity firm North Castle Partners, focused exclusively on businesses dedicated to healthy living and aging, brought the company under its Ultimate Juice Co. umbrella of smaller beverage companies. Since then, it has consolidated products and brands, and North Castle assisted the management team to integrate operations, upgrade financial management and infrastructure and grow the Naked Juice brand from a West Coast regional business into a national market leader.
Its national manufacturing and distribution system includes production facilities in California and Chicago, where some 200,000 units are produced daily, ensuring fresh product throughout the U.S.
“Today’s consumers are much more conscious about the fuel they put into their bodies,” says Ward. “Ranging from professionals and students to athletes and families, they want foods that not only taste great, but are free of added sweeteners and preservatives that compromise product purity. They want a ‘clean’ palate in which you can really taste the fruit — that’s what Naked Juice is all about and why we fit this food trend so perfectly.”
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