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SMOOTHIE BUSINESS EXPLODES!

Who would have ever thought that the concept of a blending machine that the Big Band leader Fred Warring promoted in the 1930's would spawn the new food growth industry of the 1990's? Blenders have changed significantly since the early days of easy home use and are now being improved to meet the grueling challenges of blending thousands of tough ice drinks a day. Without the new breed of blender, the growth of the smoothie industry would be impossible.

In California alone ingredient sales for fruit based smoothie drinks has increased more than 38% in one year alone.

According to a major supplier of smoothie drink ingredients in the Los Angeles area, new customers are calling every day and orders are being placed for everything from drink flavorings, fruit juices to nutrient supplements. The fruit smoothies being blended are as diverse as the different types of burgers available through fast food outlets. Some are healthy and others appear to be healthy and still others make no attempt at being healthy. Some are made with real fruit and others are made with artificial colors and flavors. Some are milk shakes or sherbets with added fruit and others have been formulated from the base up as being real fruit smoothies. Every operator feels that their formula is the best. The ultimate judge however will be the consuming public who will vote with their dollars. Potential smoothie operators with notebooks and cameras in hand are combing the country for examples of successful operations.

One factor fueling the expansion of the smoothie industry comes on the heels of the government’s program aimed at improving the American diet through the promotion of the Food Pyramid. With new emphasis on increasing our daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the fruit smoothie seems like the perfect solution. (What the industry needs now is a good tasting healthy vegetable smoothie with excellent texture to round out the menu). College students have led the way in demanding a change in the food served in cafeterias. Starting this fall Salisbury State University will be providing as part of its food service operation a Smoothie Bar in its main cafeteria. The students will select their own ingredients from a buffet, which will then in turn be blended for them. The students will be able to create their own smoothies with the type of ingredients they choose. They will be able to select from fruits, juices, dairy products, grain products, proteins and a wide array of health promoting additives. The college feels like the smoothie may become a meal replacement and great alternative to the standard breakfast. What the industry needs is a great tasting smoothie that is pre-blended with fruits, juices, sherbet or yogurt replacements and nutrients. Institutional smoothie bars will not need all room now used to prepare the drinks. By adding water and ice very nutritious and good tasting drinks could be made.

Who’s Who in the fruit smoothie business is still to be determined. The race is on to establish market presence.

Some of the well known names like Jamba Juice, Surf City Squeeze and Smoothie King are expanding their locations in areas thought to be out of the warm sun belt. The smoothie concept is catching on even as far north as Seattle.

Surf City Squeeze is reported to be opening as many as ten new operations in the Northwest.

Smoothies are even opening up on the docks of the Port Angeles Ferry across from Victoria Canada. Smoothies are becoming not just a warm weather beverage but a healthy beverage enjoyed by all ages in all parts of the country.

A quick look at who is getting into the business will tell you much potential the industry has.

With over 20 billion in sales for beverages last year in this country even a small market penetration will yield enormous profits. Anyone interested in getting into the business needs to look carefully at their location and the market they are trying to target. Locations near universities, colleges and other schools can provide a steady flow of customers. Many of these customers become almost addicted to the great taste, texture and flavors that the smoothies provide. In the successful smoothie operations large lines will be forming with customers waiting just to order their favorite smoothie.

Blenders is a new successful low budget, low overhead, new smoothie operation in Provo Utah which has turned the town upside down. Customers are driving for miles just to visit them. What is their secret? Timing. They began at the right place and at the right time with a product that is palatable to the customer. Blenders is now looking at expanding throughout the State and beyond.

Even the internet is getting involved in the smoothie and frozen blended drink movement. Those interesting in finding out more about improving their blended drink operation or those just getting started in the business can find an extensive questionnaire that takes you through all of the phases and operations of making smoothies, shakes, frozen tea and coffee drinks, granitas and health drinks. Each type of frozen drink presents its own set of unique questions.

You have the option of down loading the questionnaire into your own computer system or downloading a word document for completion in your word processor. Once you have answered the questionnaire it can be sent back through the internet for analysis. If you need help the questionnaire will let you know in which area you need to gain or hire expertise. Its not what you know about the business; it is what you don’t know that can get you into trouble.

Those in the Smoothie business tend to be optimistic about the potentials of their individual operations. If the growth is anything like the coffee shop boom of the 1990's we will be seeing printed guides to smoothie shops in the book stores before too long.

A message from Dr. Smoothie®: No doubt about it, this business is growing very fast. Dr. Smoothie® has taken any guess work out of the process and made smoothies a profit center for corporate America and the individual kiosk operator. It's that easy!!!!!







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