Progressive Grocer

Grocerant February 2017

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15 SOLUTIONS FEBRUARY 2017 ingredient for blended drinks from the likes of Jamba Juice and frozen yogurt shops. Nowadays successful smoothie sellers are using more alternative natural sweeteners such as dates, low-GI (glycemic index) agave nectar, antiox- idant-rich raw honey, maple syrup and, in some cases, coconut sugar, which has less impact on insulin than white or even raw cane sugar. But a host of more savory options also abounds, with smoothie makers adding avocado for creaminess and richness without dairy. KURE Juice Bar in Portland, Ore., serves up a Queen Green smoothie with avocado, kale, cucumber, celery, apple, ginger, coconut water and ice, while the Shaman smoothie at Prasad cafe (also in Port- land) combines avocado with other savory ingredients like jalapeño, cilantro, spinach and a juice made from celery, cucumbers and lime. Real Good Juice Co., an independent Chicago smoothie shop with outlets now popping up at Whole Foods Mar- kets, also uses avocado in some of its smoothies, along with brown rice protein, kale, banana, lemon and coconut water for its Fly Girl smoothie. And at Massachusetts-based Ring Bros. Marketplace's in-store juice and smoothie concept, Ring's Juice Bar adds aloe to its Marina Greens smoothie with kale, spinach, avocado, spirulina, coconut water and cold-pressed orange and lime juices. Going green Vitamin-packed fresh green smoothies likely were inspired by the ever-popular green juices made by cold-pressing vegetables with hydraulics to avoid heat treatment and maintain their dense nutrition profiles. It's not uncommon to see a smoothie bar pushing fresh-pressed juices and pre-bottled juice cleanses at the same time—or vice versa. Chicago-based researcher Datassential reports that kale, spinach and greens have all increased their presence by 139 percent on beverage menus, with kale in particular gaining more than 400 percent on these menus during the past four years. Other ingredients like ginger (up 55 percent), romaine (up 47 percent), lemon (up 39 per- cent), cucumbers (up 38 percent), cayenne (up 38 percent) and beets (up 31 percent) are just as popular in juices as they are in smoothies. "We are oen playing around with recipes, using our cold- pressed juices and coconut water as the liquid base to our smoothies," says Chef Sascha Weiss, head of product de- velopment at Project Juice Test Kitchen, a certified organic, cold-pressed juice and smoothie concept in California. A boost of energy Along with mint, dates, beets, agave and almond butter, caffeine-containing coffee and matcha (antioxidant-rich Japanese green tea oen sold in powdered form and frothed with warm water or milk) increasingly are turning up in smoothies as energy sources, reports Datassential. Ring's Juice Bar, for example, offers a Mega Matcha smoothie that blends powdered green tea with spinach, kale, pineapple, mango and coconut water. New York City- based Juice Press outlets also use matcha in their smooth- ies, combined with homemade almond or coconut-cashew milk and a touch of honey and mint, like a matcha latte in blended form. In addition, Juice Press shops offer slightly caffeinated, stick-to-your-ribs breakfast smoothies with gluten-free oats, chia and flax seeds, quinoa, amaranth, dates, banana, almonds, almond milk and cold brew coffee Project Juice offers smoothies, fresh-pressed juices and juice cleanses. As more consumers eschew dairy products or go all-vegan, smoothie bowls have found their way onto menus as an alternative to yogurt for a light and nutritious morning meal or snack. This denser, thicker concoction often is made with a base of pureed açaí (a "superfood" fruit) and banana that can be topped with different fruits, nuts, seeds and other ingredients for an all-in-one meal. Sacramento, Calif.-based Nugget Markets serves its açaí bowls with naturally sweet and antioxidant-rich topping options like berries, organic hemp, granola, nuts, seeds and honey. Mason Edelson, owner of Graze Kitchenette at Reviv- al Food Hall in Chicago, drew inspiration from the traditional açaí bowl first made popular in Hawaii, Australia and Cali- fornia for his energizing version. It uses only a small amount of coconut water and frozen mango, banana and other fruits instead of ice so the flavors aren't watered down; other nat- ural thickeners like Edelson's homemade pecan and cashew butters can add more texture and flavor to the base. Smoothie bowls

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