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New York’s pressed juice obsession is evolving into a business that is hard to ingnore. Less than ten years ago, cold-pressed juice fans where either dedicated vegans and raw foodies, or Hollywood stars who believed that a boost of freshly squeezed fruit can help them look even more gorgeous. Today women of all ages prefer pressed juice as their favorite way to cleanse (or be nurtured) while trend-oriented entrepreneurs see in such businesses the investment of the moment.
What made juiceries evolve from a local fashion into an ultra-competitive craze that aims to supermarket distribution? First comes the celebrity hype that makes the virtues of natural multivitaminic blends sound even more attractive. Fashion designer Jason Wu said that he cleanses with Blueprint Cleanse one to two days a week because he “forgets to eat.” Sarah Jessica Parker was photographed carrying a bottle. Good food advocate Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan of Organic Avenue, Denise Mari’s NY based chain of 9 glorious juiceries, that according to Martin Bates, the investor who has been lately pouring cash in the business, will duplicate its shops by 2015. On the other hand actress Salma Hayek is the proud co-owner of Cooler Cleanse, a home-delivery juicing program that she made with juice veteran Eric Helms, who launched his first juice bar in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen in 1999.
Most of the businesses of the sector, were launched around 2000 as neighborhood bars serving sophisticated blends of freshly squeezed fruit to the ones who could afford a premium price, uber-healthy boost. Among the early pioneers in New York were Marcus Antebi’s Juice Press, Liquiteria in the East Village, and Melvin Major Jr., Miss Lily’s Rasta-hatted health guru, who has later extended the cult to the Greenwich Village with his Melvin’s Juice Box. Those where conventional juiceries offering a product to be consumed fresh from the pressing machine, but lately even the celebrity favorite Melvin’s Juice box, has began serving some of his blends in a bottle. Wondering what guides this choice? It’s simple: Juice gurus want to reach a wider audience. Using high pressure processing,
Juiceries can increase the life span of their goodies up to a few weeks, expanding this way their legacy to faraway destinations and supermarket shelves. It’s not a case if Starbucks has acquired its own line, Evolution Fresh. Some will tell that the process deprives juices from most of their vitamins but who seeks nationwide distribution, will praise the benefits of the bottled evolution: “High pressure processing is the safest way to get raw juice into customer’s hands” said Blueprint’s Zoe Sakoutis to a recent interview at the NY Daily News. For sure if she managed to get her products in Whole Foods, it was thanks to their 21 day life span. Oxidizing in less than 20minutes, no fresh juice can go that far.