Seldom in our product reviews have we encountered a more controversial company, product line, and go to market strategy. Our initial research included an in-depth review of the company website. We were encouraged as the company seemed transparent about its history, ownership, key individuals, product development, clinical trials, and ingredients. Additional research uncovered controversy at virtually every turn. Read on as we pull back the curtain.
About Juice Plus
To quote the site, “The Juice Plus+ Company has evolved from a small, direct-sales company into a highly successful, multimillion-dollar health and wellness company.”
Schoolteacher turned entrepreneur, Albert J. (Jay) Martin, founded NSA (National Safety Associates) nearly fifty years ago. In the seventies, the company sold in-home fire detectors, and in the eighties, NSA shifted its focus to air and water filters. In 1993 the company pivoted yet again to launch a new product in an entirely new category, Juice Plus+ nutritional supplements, to address the need for more fruits and vegetables required for a healthy diet and lifestyle. In ’93, less than 20% of American adults were consuming the recommended minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Two comments by the narrator in the About Us video piqued our interest:
- The founder created a “whole new business model” to support the sales of Juice Plus+, and,
- Jay Martin founded what has become a “multi-billion-dollar” international brand.
The first comment led us down the path of discovering just what this new business model might be, and the second comment seemed a contradiction of their printed materials and a significant stretch from the $730 million in sales detailed in the Direct Selling News’ report.
MLM, Pyramid, Ponzi
There are several articles on the internet that make mention of The Juice Plus+ Company’s “whole new business model,” which is an MLM or multi-level marketing program. Let us be clear on this point, Juice Plus+ is not a Ponzi scheme. The company has a real product, twenty-one different products in fact, including combination packs.
Many companies employ an MLM go to market strategy. Some of the largest are:
- Amway, with annual sales approaching $9 billion, and yes, in this case, it is with a “b” as in billion
- Avon, with annual sales of $5.7 billion
- Herbalife, annual sales of $4.4 billion
However, marketer beware, even behemoths like Amway and Herbalife, have been the subjects of litigation. In 2010, Amway paid $56 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that again accused it of being a pyramid scheme. And, in 2016, Herbalife agreed to pay $200 million to consumers and to restructure its business in the U.S. to resolve Federal Trade Commission claims it had misled hundreds of thousands of people who signed up to sell the company’s products.
You should also know that NSA, the parent of Juice Plus+, was accused in 1991 that their sales structure constituted a Ponzi scheme. And, in 1993, the United States Attorney General’s office followed up on complaints that NSA deceptively required new distributors to make large upfront purchases of air and water filters. Remember this point as you read the Pricing segment below.
What is Juice Plus Fruit, Vegetable, and Berry Blend?
Juice Plus+ Fruit, Vegetable, and Berry Blend Capsules are dietary supplements containing concentrated fruit and vegetable juice extracts fortified with added vitamins and nutrients. Juice Plus+ Fruit, Vegetable, and Berry Blends provide whole-food-based nutrition from thirty different fruits, vegetables, grains, and berries in convenient capsule form. The supplements are made by juicing whole fruits and vegetables. The juice is then dried and mixed to make the supplement blends.
Very Important Note: although the Fruit, Vegetable, and Berry Blends are positioned as a single unit, it is, in fact, three separate products, in different containers, sold as a single unit on the company’s website.
Juice Plus+ products are vegan, gluten-free, and made from non-GMO ingredients. There are no artificial flavors, colorings, or preservatives. Manufacturing facilities are NSF certified as cGMP.
Key Ingredients in Juice Plus Fruit, Vegetable, and Berry Blend
The fruit capsules are made from apples, oranges, pineapples, cranberries, peaches, cherries, papayas. The vegetable capsules are made from carrots, parsley, beets, kale, broccoli, cabbage, oat bran, rice bran, spinach, and tomatoes. There is also a “berry blend” made from 25 fruits, vegetables, grains, and berries, including concord grapes. A lot of these ingredients, like broccoli and spinach, can be found in superfoods such as Green Vibrance and BoKU Superfood.
The supplements also include other added ingredients, including:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Soluble fiber (glucomannan)
- Dried probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus)
- Folic acid
Juice Plus+ products being from whole foods use a Nutrition Panel rather than an Ingredient Panel. As such, only the macronutrients, Vitamins, and Minerals are listed. Other ingredients are listed separately with no indication of the dosage or amount of each ingredient.
Benefits of Juice Plus Products
The number one benefit of Juice Plus+ products is that they bridge the gap between what you should eat and what you do eat. Other benefits include:
- Supports the immune system
- Healthy skin
- Better heart health
- Increased nutrient uptake
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved dental health
Juice Plus+ Berry Blend adds nutrition from Concord grapes and a wide variety of berries including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, bilberries, and elderberries, that provide some of the most powerful and healthful antioxidants in fruits and vegetables.
The clinical tests supporting the Juice Plus+ advertised benefits on the company website have come under significant scrutiny by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, University of California Berkeley, Center for Science in the Public Interest. Sloan-Kettering Cancer Clinic referred to Juice Plus+ as a “pricey supplement” that is “distributed through a multi-tiered marketing scheme with exaggerated value and cost.”
Recommended Dosage for Juice Plus Fruit, Vegetable, and Berry Blend
The adult dose is two capsules of each blend per day, preferably at mealtimes. Children under 13 are advised to take one capsule of each blend per day.
How Does Juice Plus Fruit, Vegetable, and Berry Blend Perform
In addition to being cumbersome to order and very expensive, we feel Juice Plus+ advertising claims are unsubstantiated. And we are not alone; consider ConsumerLab.com, a third-party independent testing company. The Juice Plus+ Garden Blend failed Consumer Labs’ test as it contained less than the claimed calcium content, confirmed in two independent laboratories.
We question the efficacy of the blends as we cannot determine the precise amount of any ingredient in the product due to their Nutritional Facts panel. Still others question the bioavailability of the nutrients. We have no doubt, meeting your daily requirements of fruits and vegetables have significant benefits. We still question however, the efficacy of capsules to impart these same benefits. Concerns have also been raised about the accuracy of product labeling. Three studies which included chemical analyses of Juice Plus products have indicated nutrient amounts that differ from the amounts listed on the product labels.
As mentioned in our opening, few companies have been the subject of such scrutiny. The company, the products, and the go to market strategy have all come under attack from different governing agencies.
Potential Side Effects Of Juice Plus Products
Gastrointestinal stress is the most common side effect reported with the use of Juice Plus+ products. Some people also reported a hive-like rash, although most of these side effects are mild. People experience stomach upset and rashes from eating certain foods, too, so this is not a cause for alarm.
The risk of interactions with other medications is relatively low; however, as always, we recommend you consult your medical professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
On the company website, each carton of Juice Plus+ Fruit, Vegetable, and Berry Blend contains a 4-month supply of:
- Juice Plus+ Fruit Blend capsules (240 capsules)
- Juice Plus+ Vegetable Blend capsules (240 capsules)
- Juice Plus+ Berry Blend capsules (240 capsules)
The cost is $300.00 per carton, payable either in one full lump payment, or four installment payments of $75.00 each. It appears all products available on the site are in four-month increments.
Best Places To Buy Juice Plus Products
It appears the only place to buy Juice Plus+ products is on their website or from one of their MLM/franchise members. The product does not seem to be accessible through other e-commerce sites or in brick and mortar retailers.
Juice Plus Summary
Even if there is a bit of hyperbole in the “multi-billion-dollar” statement, $730 million is a significant business. Juice Plus+ is apparently selling a quality product through a network of individuals who use the product, believe in the product, and sell the product. To keep you informed, however, the product is made by Natural Alternatives International of San Marcos, California, for National Safety Associates (NSA; Collierville, Tennessee). Further, an unrelated third party uses a proprietary process to produce the powder used in the capsules. Note: It is not unusual in the nutritional supplement industry for products to be made for another company that is primarily responsible for the sales and marketing functions.
If, after reading our review, you’re still contemplating Juice Plus+ products and becoming one of their customers/distributors consider this, The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states: “Steer clear of multilevel marketing plans that pay commissions for recruiting new distributors.”