Jamba Juice Wants to Go To School

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Jamba Juice is at it again. As another way to propel the healthy-food innovator into a $1-billion global “lifestyle” brand, Jamba Juice wants to tap into the potentially fertile U.S.-school market with a self-serve-smoothie concept called JambaGo.

It’s hard to keep up with all the ways that CEO James D. White has been spurring the QSR chain’s growth and broadening its brand transformation. In last month’s third-quarter earnings statement alone, the company disclosed plans to extend Jamba-branded CPG products across 28,000 retail outlets to gain nationwide distribution, and the signing of a new partnership with Bare Fruit to produce three varieties of bake-dried, all-natural, 100-percent-fruit chip snacks, in a new category for Jamba.

Nation’s Restaurant News reports that Jamba Juice has already opened about 30 pilot locations of JambaGo, which takes up roughly the space of a soda-fountain beverage dispenser. It offers branded packaged products as well as the option of several pre-blended smoothies that White said rival the blended-to-order quality of those made at the chain’s retail outlets.[more]

Schools are a natural target market for JambaGo, as campus administrators and foodservice officials continue to beat their retreat from nutritionally vacant fare and search hard for healthful alternatives to put in their cafeterias. Yes, many smoothies contain lots of sugar, natural and otherwise, but White has said that Jamba is offering some more-healthful smoothie options with fewer caloiries that will meet toughening new school standards.

Coke and Pepsi already have been forced back at many schools, creating a big vacuum for other beverage brands if they’re willing to take advantage of the opportunity. White already has shown that he loves to take some chances.

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