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Virgin's juicy

Food & Drink

Every industry will eventually have two or three global leaders, including the juice bar segment. So join Virgin in their quest to become the number one in healthy beverages?

You can never go wrong with healthy food and beverages these days: Virgin and Australian-based Signature Brand Limited (SBL) have joined forces on a quest to make SBL’s Pulp Juice the definitive juice bar brand worldwide. That’s right: the Starbucks of juice bars. Hey, as Springwise likes to say: if you can’t name a global brand for a B2C category, it’s probably wide open, no matter how much local competition you may be facing! Virgin recently acquired a 20% interest in SBL’s Pulp Health, in an agreement that includes the formation of a new company (of which Virgin will own a controlling 80%). Sweeping Pulp Juice global expansions including 75 branded juice bars in the Persian Gulf, 7 outlets in New Zealand by year’s end, an increase in Australia’s Pulp Juice Bar outlets from 18 to 106 over the next two years, and additional international expansions in the UK, South Africa, and the US. (Wow!) The Virgin Group head honcho’s fondness (that would of course be Richard) for Pulp Juice’s healthy concoctions catalyzed the deal, and plans are progressing at light speed. The first New Zealand outlet has already opened for business, another partnership was formed within three months with Australian gym chain Fitness First to add Pulp Juice outlets to its 39 locations, and a little less than four months after the initial Virgin/SBL deal closed, negotiations had already begun for adding Australian cult juice brand Nudie to the fold. Nudie has accomplished some impressive growth on its own, increasing its distribution from 24 stores to 4000 stores in 18 months. Plans are for Nudie to retain its identity and expand to branded retail outlets, food, and more. Sydney healthy food sensation Sumo Salad (which features DIY salads, an entire and tasty new business opportunity in itself) is also on the Virgin/SBL acquisitions radar, but has resisted their overtures so far.

Opportunities

Each B2C market is big enough for at least two or three key global players, the juice bar segment included. So you could still try to dominate the world of pulp by taking mighty Virgin head on. However, for the cash challenged amongst you, may Springwise suggest that you A: set up a local bar and sell it to Pulp next year, or B: contact them about getting the franchise rights to wherever it is you live? Could be a sweet and healthy deal!

Website: www.virgin.com/, www.signaturebrands.com.au/

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