The word "juice," once used almost exclusively as a noun, is often used as a verb in today's parlance, shorthand for making and drinking a blend extracted from fruits, vegetables and spices using cold-pressed methods.
The health benefits of "juicing" have been both widely proclaimed and often disputed. But what's great about these beverages is that they're refreshing, energizing and delicious. Juice So Good, a line of cold-pressed drinks, hits the mark.
Rita Katona is the 36-year-old powerhouse behind the Minneapolis-based So Good Brand, a food and beverage company. It produces cold-pressed juices, coffees and now baby-foods, distributed to more than 1,000 locations nationwide. Katona founded the company nearly three years ago with 12 years of corporate retail experience, most recently as a retail buyer and sourcing strategist for Target.
A yoga instructor, Katona decided to turn her passion for health and fitness into products in line with her values. The idea for cold-pressed juices was born in her kitchen.
"I realized that I love helping people take better care of themselves. When I trying to find balance in my corporate career, these beverages helped me feel better throughout my day. I wanted to share them with others," she said. "Juicing is messy and time consuming. I decided to figure out how to produce these juices at scale so everyone can enjoy them."
Recognizing that the cold-press method is essential to retaining the juice's nutrients, she invested in building a small production facility. The initial product line expanded to include coffee nut-milk blends that are dairy-free. Within a year, the company needed more room to meet demand and built a new plant to make the juices, coffees and a new line of perishable baby foods.
"The methods we use retain all the nutrients often lost in cooking while killing any harmful pathogens," Katona said.
The company sources 60 percent of its produce from local farms that rely on sustainable practices.
"We use raw, natural, organic or non-GMO ingredients, no additives and no preservatives, ever," said Katona. "And, we're committed to working toward zero waste. Our kitchen composts produce waste and our bottles are made from recycled materials."
The 16-ounce Juice So Good line retails for $7 and includes about 12 different blends, which vary depending on season, with such combinations as Happy Green (cucumber, pineapple, kale, mint, lime), Juicy Root (beet, carrot, apple, ginger), the Coffee So Good beverages blend of cold-brew coffee and cashew milk with vanilla, or with lavender or with mocha. The products must be kept refrigerated. All are widely available in grocery stores and co-ops with the So Good Baby Foods now entering local markets. juicesogood.com and sogoodbaby.com.