Jamba tests JambaGo, expands product line

Staff Writer
Jamba tests JambaGo, expands product line

While Starbucks is moving into the juice category, with plans for a chain and retail products, major smoothie player Jamba Juice also has plans for growth, including a smaller, express prototype and which it revealed this week.

Jamba is testing a new express version of its brand called JambaGo, which could be used to move the chain into non-traditional locations like elementary and secondary schools and college campuses, the company said Wednesday.

The Emeryville, Calif.-based Jamba Inc., parent to the smoothie chain, announced the JambaGo test after reporting third-quarter results that swung from a year ago loss to a $4.1 million profit.

Jamba’s growth plans were discussed just ahead of Thursday’s news that Starbucks Coffee Co. will open a new juice bar concept as well as sell Evolution Fresh juices in its coffeehouse locations and build a consumer-packaged goods line of juice products. The move – spurred by Starbucks’ $30 million acquisition of Evolution Fresh – pits the coffee giant more directly against Jamba Juice, which has been working to build its presence in the health-and-wellness category.

James White, Jamba Inc.’s chair, president and chief executive, said in a statement Thursday that Starbucks’ move “validates the health and wellness strategy and mission that Jamba Juice has been executing against for the past 20-plus years.”

Third-quarter results indicate that Jamba Juice is “strong and strengthening,” said White.

“We are growing globally and we remain a top-of-mind health-and-wellness brand among consumers," he said. "We will continue to accelerate our product innovation and, while we welcome new entrants to the marketplac, we will adjust our strategy as needed, just as we have done successfully in the past to meet changing business requirements.”

Conrad Lyon, an analyst with B. Riley & Co. in Los Angeles, said he didn’t think Jamba Juice would be too concerned about Starbucks’ entry into the juice business, as more movement in the segment likely will only “bring more eyeballs to the space and better educate consumers.”