During a visit to the Jugofresh outpost inside Whole Foods Aventura back in December 2016, a rainbow of juice bottles filled an open-faced refrigerator. Many of the green, orange, and red liquids claimed an assortment of health benefits, such as "brain-boosting," "heart-healthy," and "bone-building" effects packed in a 16-ounce serving.
But as of April 2017, Jugofresh's health claims are gone. Inside Whole Foods Aventura, terms such as "performance enhancing," "kidney cleansing," and "blood building" have been replaced with small symbols indicating protein, greens, or superfoods.
On Jugofresh's website, claims have been removed entirely and the symbols have been omitted. Instead, each juice and smoothie lists its ingredients but draws no connection to a potential health benefit.
In a New Times article published last year about the dubious claims made by juice bars, Dawn Le-Walters, a brand manager at Jugofresh, acknowledged that the company's assertions about health are not proven by conventional medical findings. She said the claims were based on Jugofresh founder Matthew Sherman's experience in the holistic health world.
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When asked, Sherman was unable to provide substantiated scientific evidence. But at the time, he stood behind the brand's health assertions, saying "If we were to just write this juice contains vitamins A, B, and C, and minerals, some important information is lost to a customer who is not informed or knowledgeable about nutrition."
Dr. Tania Rivera, a professor at Florida International University's Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, told New Times that "the medical research is not there to back up claims like this and ultimately it's really negative for the health community."
Jugofresh was one of the first companies to bring the juice-bar trend to South Florida. It opened in 2012 in Miami Beach's Sunset Harbour neighborhood. Bright, pretty, and clean, it peddled juices, açaí bowls, oatmeal, and smoothies at premium prices. The brand opened a second location in Wynwood, followed by a warehouse in Lemon City and multiple standalone stores in Coral Gables, South Miami, North Miami, and South Beach. Eventually, the company closed most of those locations to focus on shops inside Whole Foods Market locations across South Florida, including Coral Gables, South Beach, downtown Miami, North Miami, Aventura, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, and Boca Raton.
Jugofresh's Sherman and Le-Walters were unable to reach for comment.