How to Start a Bottled Juice Company

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For several years, many thought that the surge in the juice industry was just another fad, but with an annual revenue of over $22 billion, it remains an intrinsic part of the American diet. The competition is still tight, but if you're passionate about your business, there are plenty of thirsty and health-conscious customers to go around.

Juice Business Opportunities

Bottled juice is a huge market. In the United States, the consumption of juice amounts to $68.69 per person, with an annual increase of 1% each year. Remove the staples — orange, apple, grapefruit, pineapple and grape juices — and the juice business is still quite sizeable. Consumption of all other juices, juice mixtures and smoothies in the U.S. is currently $5.45 billion with a growth rate of 1.6% annually by some reports. That amounts to $16.47 spent on these other juices for every person in the country.

There are three ways to start your own juice business, beginning with juice that you make yourself:

  • Sell juice and ship it to customers locally or from your website.
  • Open a juice shop where you make and sell your juice.
  • Sell juice to retailers and restaurants as a wholesaler. 

Regardless of which business model you choose, you will have to register your business and create a business plan so you can ensure that what you spend making and delivering your juice is less than for what you sell it.

Understand the Juice Market

If you're going to be serious about your juice business, you will need to understand your market. Squeezing oranges in your kitchen and pouring the juice into bottles won't get you very far because you'll be competing with major production companies that do the same thing at a fraction of the cost.

Small businesses that have been successful beginning with bottling juice at home — and there have been plenty — use their own juice recipes, blending fruits and vegetables and even spices to come up with flavors that make their customers come back for more. Put some serious thought into your label designs, logo, marketing materials and the shape of your bottles.

Consider investing in a recent market research report that will give you the data you need to decide which types of juice to produce and how they can be marketed successfully. A report that comes with business profiles can often show you pitfalls that have hurt other businesses so that you can avoid them.

Understand the Laws Pertaining to Bottled Juice

You will need to research current laws in your state as well as your county or city to see what is required before you can start bottling juice and selling it. In some cities, it may be illegal to set up your operations in your own kitchen, and in others, you may need approval from the local health department.

The FDA also has a lot to say about producing juice, and you should become an expert in its requirements before you start squeezing lemons or squashing grapes. Bottling raw juice, for example, is only permissible if you are a retailer (i.e., selling directly to consumers). If you become a wholesaler and sell your juice to stores and restaurants, you will likely need to pasteurize your juice first.

You will also need to abide by FDA requirements for what you put on your labels. If you want to promote your juice as organic, you will need to look into the requirements for that. The U.S. Department of Agriculture does have a certified organic label, which you can use if you are properly certified. The costs for certification vary, and you may also be eligible to have up to 75% of that cost reimbursed to you.