You still remember the experience of your school field trip to the Coca-Cola bottling company in Atlanta. You watched with intent how the plastic bottles come out on a conveyor belt. Many of you have questions. The host had to explain what a vacuum priming system is and how centrifugal pumps are used to fill bottles with syrup and carbonated liquid. You didn’t have a clear idea of what was explained because you were just in awe of all the giant machines pushing, pulling, and sorting things.
This is part of the reason why you became a mechanical engineer. You’re working as a plant engineer for one of the major food conglomerates. A friend came to you for advice because he wanted to start his own juice business. He’s specifically interested in what you can share about the technical side of production and what equipment is required.
Here are a few things that you can share with your friend:
The Juice and Smoothie Business
The juice & smoothie bar industry is raking in a respectable $3 billion in revenue as of January 2019. This pales in comparison to the $51 billion revenue of the coffee shop business. But growth is steady at 1.8%, and almost 6,000 enterprises are operating in the country.
In 2024, the cold-pressed juice market is expected to grow to $8.1 billion. The process of pressing fruits and vegetables to squeeze out all the juices is called cold pressing. Cold-pressed juice is increasing in popularity globally, with many entrepreneurs venturing into creating their juice brands.
Your friend talking to you for advice is already a step in the right direction. Always do the research first before plunging in head-on. Your research should touch on what relevant laws will affect your business, the potential market demand for your product, or the profile of your competitors in your area.
This should all be contained in a sound business plan.
Your Business Model
Depending on what kind of resources you have or how small (or big) you want to start, it will help dictate your business model. Your options are providing a delivery service, leased store, or commercial production. A fourth option is combining these models.
Leasing a store or the brick and mortar option requires significant cash out front. The delivery system, however, you can practically launch from your kitchen and your small van or pick-up truck. Look into the wholesale option further down the road.
Are you starting with orange and an exotic blend of kale and celery? Whatever your decision is, make sure that you find a local supplier that can provide you with a consistent flow of supply, and at wholesale prices.
Make sure that the juices that you are going to sell are tied to your overall concept. Create a menu that targets a specific audience. For example, green vegetables are regarded as a super-food and help in managing pain or inflammation.
Whether its traditional marketing or digital marketing, you need to put in the effort. Distribute flyers at malls, get a local radio host to mention your product, and build your social media followers.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start small and perfect your product line. From there, you can grow your brand.