New smoothie franchises seem to be opening as fast as Starbucks and now Chipotle’s. Unlike coffee, a “smoothie” is not a staple of the American palate and never will be. Nonetheless, the smoothie business has been hot lately with the likes of Jamba Juice (who reinvented the market), Smoothie King, Maui Wowi, and Planet Smoothie dominating the marketplace. They’ve been riding the omnipresent “health” wave by using tasty fruits and vegetables and vitamin powders in their potions. But how long will smoothies be perceived as healthy? You should be asking that question if you are thinking of buying a smoothie franchise.
Just as financial markets always returning to the equilibrium, so do businesses. Eventually the product will commoditize, the market will saturate, and prices will drop (See the sub sandwich market).
The process can be accelerated by negative news, just as the low carb movement (which I followed for a while) subsided.
For example, if the national spotlight continues to highlight the high calorie count of smoothies defeating the impression of a healthy alternative to fast food, same store sales will suffer leaving smoothie franchisees with a lot of silent blenders. It’s already happening in the United Kingdom.
Thinking of ordering a smoothie for a healthful light snack between meals? Although these sweet fruity treats can be low in fat and rich in vitamins and nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin C, they can have a lot of sugar and calories. For example, a medium-sized Citrus Squeeze from smoothie chain Jamba Juice packs about five times as much sugar (103 grams) as a regular-sized Hershey’s milk chocolate bar (22 grams). It has 470 calories – more than a McDonald’s double cheeseburger (460 calories). Instead, try a lower-calorie smoothie option like of one of Jamba’s “Enlightened” smoothies.