That energizing green smoothie with carrot and summer berries is oh so tasty, but is it worth the price tag?
Writer for the New York Times Anna Bahr was recently shocked in the checkout line when she grabbed a cold-pressed juice and it rang up for $12. It caused her to think about the price per calorie of high end juice, concluding that the juice in question “cost 6 cents per calorie. At this rate, filling my daily calorie requirement would cost $132. The average American family spends a little over $20 each day on food.”
Of course, not all juice bottles are $12, but in the current juice craze it does give a pause for thought. Is paying for high end juice really worth it?
The first argument for fancy juices is of course that it’s better than slamming back a bag of potato chips. Sure, that’s true.
Let’s take a look at one of the bigger brands of bottled, cold-pressed juices: Evolution Fresh. You may have heard of this brand, as Evolution Fresh is a subsidiary of Starbucks Corporation, and when you opt out of your venti caramel macchiato and go for a green juice instead, you have them to thank. The suggested retail price of a bottle of 15.2 fluid ounces is $5.49 to $6.99, which is actually a lower price point than most of the other juice brands out there. So what’s in one of the juices? One of the most popular juices, Sweet Greens with Lemon, contains the following juices: celery, apple, cucumber, spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, lime, lemon, parsley, clover sprouts. That’s a power packed juice now, isn’t it?
But what if you were to make a salad with the above ingredients instead of a juice? Would you still be paying $6? As Bahr points out in her article, “Of course, buying food with ‘the healthy part’ extracted and packaged is reserved for the wealthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whether juiced or whole, cost more than their less healthy, calorific alternatives.”
Let’s assume that you are part of the crowd that can afford a juice. Is it worth it? The thing that I rarely see mentioned is that while these juices are branded as healthy alternatives to the average snack on the grocery shelf, they still have one major thing in common: they’re in single-use disposable packaging. While it might be better for you to throw back a juice made of greens than grabbing a Snickers bar, you’re still going to toss that plastic bottle after the fact.
Juices might be trendy, but we’d all be better off just buying whole fruits and vegetables instead. Bahr holds that an equivalent salad to her expensive kale, apple, ginger and lemon drink would costs three cents per calorie, instead of six. That’s an economic win, and you’re also not stuck with a plastic bottle destined for the trash either.
Sure, buying a juice makes our life a little easier. But that doesn’t make it the best choice out there.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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