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If you visit the juice aisle of your nearest Whole Foods, we can guarantee that you’ll find plenty of options. Moreover, you probably won’t notice a huge difference between the brands you see – there will be more colorful bottles and organic labels than you can shake a carrot at.
Truth is, the natural foods world is extremely crowded, and many brands struggle for exposure. Brandfolder spoke with Suja Juice’s Marketing Director, Anya Kaats, to get the details on their strategic solution to this all-too-common branding problem.
How do you establish brand awareness and customer loyalty in such a saturated market?
Anya: It’s really all about education. We do a lot of consumer research studies and we find that when we talk to the conventional consumer about organic, non-GMO and cold pressed juice, their perspective changes significantly. Before the learning process, people were just kind of going and blindly picking up a juice because they thought they were all the same. Once they learn there’s a better option that is equally priced, it really is a game changer.
It’s definitely difficult in the natural food space because there are a lot of other organic, HPP juices—HPP stands for high pressure processing, a method of pasteurization. But in the conventional space, we’re really the only people doing it right now. So we’re always trying to show people how we’re different, and it’s all about communicating that message when it comes to marketing.
How do your packaging design and marketing messages reinforce your brand values?
Anya: Our packaging has always been something we’re proud of, with specific weight on our Essentials and Classic bottles. They have a different word cloud on each one that calls out different messages and sayings like “non-GMO” and “cold pressure.” We’ve also created a website, coldpressured.org, and we tell people about that on our packaging so they can read more about what that process is like. Anywhere we touch consumers—whether its coupons, social media, or our blog—we’re focused on sending those messages.
Last year, Suja Juice expanded its product offering to include Suja Essentials, which is sold in major supermarket chains like Target, Safeway and Costco. How did this help change the image that juice isn’t just for trendy, upscale clientele?
Anya: People were viewing juice in two categories: either as a cheap, conventional juice like Ocean Spray or Tropicana, or as a very expensive organic juice that’s only for the super health-conscious, California yogi type of person. Suja Juice wanted to bridge that gap—when we did our consumer research we found that, from the Whole Foods consumer to the Publix consumer, everyone’s sort of drinking juice for the same reasons. We wouldn’t be able to get accepted by conventional retailers unless we offered a juice with a lower price that worked for their customers.
Can you talk about the difference between Suja Elements and Suja Essentials? What product changes allowed you to reduce the price of Essentials and get it into more stores?
Anya: We developed Suja Elements in partnership with Whole Foods, because they had the same vision of creating a lower-priced product that didn’t sacrifice quality. We reduced the size from 16oz to 12oz, and we also introduced purees to Suja Elements. This brought down the price because there’s not as much waste generated during the juicing process.
That line at Whole Foods was our only business at the time, so we realized that we needed to create something for a wider audience. We noticed that the vegetable focused juices don’t do all that well with the average consumer, so we created a more fruit forward juice called Suja Essentials. We took out all the crazy ingredients that exist in Suja Elements—like baobab and chia and flax—so we were able to drive the price down even more while still maintaining our quality.
Suja means “long, beautiful life.” How does the Suja Juice brand embrace this idea?
Anya: We really believe in practicing what we preach. All of our employees are health-centric, and we really promote that sort of mantra outside our work lives. We’re not a brand that concentrates on profit by keeping prices down and putting fillers and additives into our product; instead, we take the opposite route. Our main priorities are quality and taste, and we try and preach the “long, beautiful life” message with how we make our juice—organic and GMO-free.