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Jamba Juice Goes Grab-and-Go
Teas, salads, sandwiches, and wraps are now on Jamba’s menu.
Jamba Juice's new Chimichurri Chicken grab-and-go wrap

California residents were likely surprised to find one of their quintessential juice and smoothie spots now offers … well, more than juice and smoothies. Jamba Juice might not have changed its name but it definitely changed its game this week with the addition of food and cold teas to its menus.

The company only recently announced plans to expand beyond its trademark drinks and promptly followed on June 15 with a national rollout commencing on the West coast. The debut brings with it an assortment of grab and go food choices including salads, sandwiches, and four dynamic ready-made wraps: Asian style and Chimichurri chicken for meat-lovers, as well as the vegetarian Greek Goodness and Greens & Grains vegan wrap. Flatbread sandwiches are also available: Four Cheesy, Smokehouse Chicken, Tomo Artichoke, and MediterraneYUM.

In keeping with its healthy lifestyle maxim, Jamba’s grab and go foods contain no artificial flavors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, or trans-fat.

“In making our food choices, we were very selective in offering simple, high quality ingredients without sacrificing taste,” says Vice President of Innovation and Quality Brian Lee. “We are committed to offering our customers food that they can feel good about eating.”

With the new food items also comes the launch of Jamba's Fruit Tea Infusions, a 16-ounce, low-calorie infusion of organic green tea and natural fruit juices served over crushed ice in three tropical flavors— Pomegranate, Passion Fruit, and Prickly Pear.

Although this is the most significant addition to Jamba's menu since its opening in 1990, Kim Larson, vice president of marketing, says the transition towards food was always a goal. “Consumer research revealed customers wanted food. Heavier users might consider smoothies a full meal, but lighter users craved more.”

After the successful winter launch of oatmeal and the inclusion of baked goods and snacks, Jamba saw an opportunity to transform into a complete mealtime destination. The company moved fast; aggressively selecting foods, premium ingredients and conducting below-the-radar research in California's Bay area in less than a year before taking the new items to market. Larson says this is only step two of what will be a comprehensive launch.

Consumer research revealed customers wanted food. Heavier users might consider smoothies a full meal, but lighter users craved more.”

With a floundering economy, Jamba's dramatic changes were equally motivated by the need to defend its territory as the country's leading smoothie chain in order to remain competitive. Larson says distinguishing the brand from other quick-service retailers was very important.

“These days it's not unusual to find places like Burger King or Taco Bell offering smoothies,” Larson says.

But while the liquids company is taking the grand leap into solids, Larson believes its unyielding commitment to providing nutritious goods that ultimately sets it apart. “We do believe there is a role for a healthier quick-service,” she says.

Jamba Juice's debut food products are currently available in 222 select California locations.

Lakiesha R. Carr covered the industry's attempts to reduce sodium levels for QSRmagazine.com.