Drink your Veggies

Cold-pressed juices beat the summer heat—for a price

I have paid $12 for a 237-ml juice before. This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill grocery store OJ, either—it was a delicious cocktail of fennel, cucumber, green apple and basil. That was in Los Angeles—technically, the juice actually cost me $15.04 CDN—at a trendy juice café called Moon Juice that specializes in cold-pressed juices and pressed (almond-based) milks.  Nonetheless, I’ve paid similar amounts for cold-pressed juice in Canada, too.

Picture of Cold Pressed Juice

If you’re puzzled by the mention of cold-pressed juice, you’re not alone: it’s relatively new in these parts, first gaining traction in Calgary with the openings of Cru Juice, Juice Because, Mamasu and Well Juicery in the last couple of years. It has been trending elsewhere—Toronto, Vancouver, New York City, Los Angeles and Sydney, Australia—since around 2010.

“Juicing is this super easy means in which to obtain a lot of fruits and vegetables [in your diet],” says Mike McGinn, founder of RevoJuiceinary in Edmonton.

“The appeal of cold-pressed juices stems from a desire to be able [to] obtain a lot of the health benefits from eating homemade, healthy, whole foods, but lack the time or energy to do this day in and day out,” he continues. “Juices and smoothies, when made properly, can be a great substitution for these wholesome meals. I think we are certainly seeing a shift in how people are viewing food—instead of just a pleasurable necessity—now as a tool to increase your energy, feel happier and become more grounded.”

McGinn started his company in August 2014 in response to the lack of cold-pressed juice offerings in the Edmonton area. At that time, cold-pressed juice was still mostly a thing of fiction in the prairies. Being from the East Coast, McGinn was already well-versed in the juicing world, so he invested in a small-scale pressing machine in order to create his own line of organic juices. Initially offering five cold-pressed juices, RevoJuiceinary has now extended its line to 13 juices, smoothies and mylks, all of which cost $10 for a 500-ml bottle. That’s very similar in price to Glow Juicery, another local juice company, which charges $9 for a 473-ml bottle.

So, what’s the deal with the price?

Ultimately, these companies have to make a profit—and making fresh, cold-pressed juice has a lot of extra costs involved than other types of juice.

For starters, fresh produce is almost always higher in price than the canned or frozen variety. Certain ingredients also yield lower amounts of juice than others, such as leafy greens like kale versus oranges. Choosing to use all organic ingredients, like Revojuicenary does, will also significantly impact the cost.

“We make certain decisions based on what we believe each juice should offer,” McGinn explains. “For example, buying only organic is going to increase your cost. If that’s not a concern for you, then yes, you can make your own juice [for] cheaper. Obviously there’s labour, delivery and all that stuff that goes into it as well, but we try to keep that fairly low.”

The high cost of cold-pressed juice can also be chalked up to the process by which its made. Most traditional home juicers use a centrifugal system, which uses fast-spinning blades to extract the juice from the produce. That process oxidizes and heats up the produce, resulting in a loss of nutrients. In comparison, the cold-pressed method keeps 100 percent of the produce’s nutritional value intact by coaxing out the vitamins, phytochemicals and minerals through hydraulic pressure that requires no  heat.

Additionally, the cold-pressed method allows juice to maintain its nutrient value for up to 72 hours, while a centrifugal juice can lose those nutrients in 10 minutes, Amanda Chantal Bacon, owner of Moon Juice, explains over email.

Given all this, it seems like a practical choice to switch over to a cold-press from a centrifugal system, right? Unfortunately, while home juicers can cost anywhere from $300 to $600, cold-press systems, such as the Norwalk Hydraulic Press, can cost you $2495.

Add that to the already steep price of fresh, organic produce, the cost of production (bottles, labels, etc), and you have a recipe for a very expensive bottle of juice.

Cold-pressed juices offer great health benefits, but McGinn suggests not using it as a weight-loss system or food replacement—something he notes is a common advertising ploy from juicing companies.

“I both love and hate the health-industry marketing, because in one sense, I do truly believe that a lot of the North American diet is messed up and a lot of health issues we see [are] from the high sugar/high fat and processed food out there,” he reflects. “But I also have a strong [concern]for when things are being advertised as the ultimate weight loss solution and it’s going to cleanse your body of every issue.

“Everything is cancer-healing, cancer-healing, cancer-healing,” he continues. “A lot of these diseases are so complex, so you can’t just say that drinking celery juice is going to cure you. My thoughts on doing a juice cleanse or even just incorporating juice into your diet is not to see it as a miracle cure, but as a tool to get you on the right track.”

So, should you buy into the cold-pressed trend? If you have a few dollars to spare, then go ahead: it’s an easy way to get your daily fruit-and-veggie intake. Or you could take the DIY route and start making your own—but start saving now for a Norwalk Hydraulic Press.

Jasmine Salazar

jasmine@vueweekly.com