The pioneers of the juice bar as we know it, Boost Juice and Viva Juice, were both founded in 2000, selling exotic juice mixes and smoothies. “Do you want wheat grass with that?” Young urban adults wanted a fast meal substitute with a health benefit and juice bars filled the bill.
The modern juice bar had a predecessor, however. The first juice bar in Melbourne was 74 years earlier, when Victorian Railways Commissioner, Harold Clapp, had one set up at Flinders Street Station. But it was long gone when Scot McNamara opened the first Viva Juice store in Swan Street, Richmond, in 2000. The same year, Janine Allis opened the first Boost Juice in King William Street, Adelaide. Although a Melbournite, Allis decided that the smaller Adelaide market was a better place to test her idea and, besides, radio advertising was cheaper there.
Both McNamara and Allis were inspired by what was happening in the United States. Jamba Juice, founded in 1990 and Zuka Juice, founded in 1995, were large chains selling smoothies and blended juices, catering to a health-conscious public. In 1999 the two companies merged and together operated a total of 225 juice bars across multiple states.
After the opening in 2000 Boost Juice grew rapidly, soon taking up 28 leases in Westfield shopping centres. By early 2004 Boost had 83 franchised stores and Viva Juice has 23 company-owned outlets. Later that year, Boost bought the Viva business, going on to become the undisputed juice bar leader in Australia. The chain now operates more than 400 franchised stores in Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, Estonia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan and UK.
The product offering is extensive. You can refresh yourself with a Two & Five juice, which contains beetroot, vita booster, spinach, apple, carrot, celery, cucumber, ice and freshly squeezed orange (200 calories). Or go for the slightly more calorific Gym Junkie, which has strawberry yoghurt, strawberries, whey protein, low fat milk, banana, vanilla yoghurt and ice. Many juices carry warnings that they are unsuitable for those under 15 or pregnant.