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Juice Plus+: produce, though not exactly fresh

juice plus bottles

My family and I are Americans, so it logically follows that we are food faddists.

Our cupboards reveal our sorties into this arena over the years. There is a still a big sack of Shakeology in our cabinet. (It’s a high-nutrition shake product, in case you hadn’t guessed. It is delicious—say if you are in the middle of the Siege of Leningrad.)

richard smoley produce blueprints

But enough is enough. I finally cleared out those boxes of Juice Plus+, motivated not only by the need for space but by their expiration date of 2016.

Juice Plus+ is a product composed of capsules of highly concentrated fruit and vegetable powder. Since you just swallow them with water, like any other capsules, flavor is irrelevant.

The idea is that these little capsules will give you the nutritive equivalent of the fresh fruits and vegetables that you didn’t eat today, did you?

We didn’t have any particular problem with Juice Plus+; we just got out of the habit of taking it. (Typical American food faddists.)

My colleague Pamela Riemenschneider reminded me of this fine product by drawing my attention to a press release for an event in Long Beach, CA, on January 28. In partnership with Food Finders, the company will be sponsoring a free Community Marketplace Food Hub. Juice Plus+ Partners with Food Finders to Support Food Insecure Communities with Free Fruit and Vegetables at Community Marketplace (

Juice Plus+ will be offering giveaways of fresh produce to needy families. Culinary expert Gail Simmons will give a live cooking demonstration of recipes for both fresh and canned produce. There will be a Fruit and Veggie Tasting Stand offering a variety of dips for popular fruits and vegetables.

“The event is in celebration of the new ad campaign Juice Plus+ is launching in January throughout the U.S. which is designed to tackle the overly complicated nature of the health and wellness category,” says the company’s press release.

“Filmed on farms in California and Michigan, the ad showcases the abundance of fresh produce that are used for the Juice Plus+ product range, shown where they grow naturally. The intention is to show the goodness and nutrients that are found in nature, and how these form the basis of everything Juice Plus+ creates.”

The Long Beach event will also be offering “complimentary balanced smoothies made with Complete by Juice Plus, while sharing the many benefits of the brand’s plant-based products that help bridge the gap between what you should eat, and what you do eat.”

I hope these smoothies taste better than Shakeology.

Of course, I welcome anything that provides food of any kind to families in need—fresh fruits or vegetables or not.

But it is an interesting marketing tactic to tie Juice Plus+—which, whatever other virtues it may have, is not fresh fruits or vegetables—to the real thing.

I’m not getting moralistic here. Yes, we know that the typical American consumes maybe one or two servings of fruits and vegetables daily (and let’s not think about what the figure might be if you left out French fries). If some other product provides them with some kind of nutritive equivalent, that’s fine, I suppose.

But people should not be expected to confuse a surrogate with the real thing.

It’s just another marketing challenge for the produce industry.


Richard Smoley, contributing editor for Blue Book Services, Inc., has more than 40 years of experience in magazine writing and editing, and is the former managing editor of California Farmer magazine. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford universities, he has published 12 books.