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Jamba Juice - what a waste

Original post made by Parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 10, 2007

Under pressure from my kids, took them to Jamba Juice for a "treat" yesterday. I bought each of them a "16" of their choice. I was very surprised to see that each drink made a larger amount than the l6 cups. I wondered what happens to the rest, and was told it was thrown out!!

What a waste. We expect a small size drink to use a small size recipe and smaller amounts of the ingredients. Instead, the small size drink uses the same amounts of ingredients and charges less. Therefore, the costing of the drinks is based on the cost of ingredients for the largest size drink and the small size is overpriced, or the cost of the largest drink is based on the cost of the ingredients for the small size and the rest is just hype. My personal thoughts are that all the drinks are over priced. Considering the size of the drinks is irrelevant in labor and hard costs, then since the cost of the ingredients never varies between sizes, the charges seem to be arbitrary. Now, if I had asked for two identical small size drinks, would I get a discount? I doubt it.

Something should prevent this type of marketing. It is unethical and also very wasteful.

Comments (26)

Posted by Bob
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 10, 2007 at 10:25 am

Oh well, guess you won't be buying there again!

The "costing" (price I assume you mean) of the drinks is based on what they think people are willing to pay, not the cost of the ingredients (which I assume is a small fraction of the total price). So if they used less ingredients, they put a little money in their pockets, that's all. That's true of just about anything - think about popcorn at the movies. It doesn't cost an extra dollar to put the extra cup or two of popcorn in the bag!

Not sure what "marketing" you refer to that should be prevented - they post their prices and provide what they say they will. Seems right to me.

Personally I like the product (though a lot of calories!), but the noise in the place drives me crazy. I send my kids in and just wait outside.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2007 at 10:36 am


I agree with you in lots of ways. However, at least at the movies I get more popcorn for my money and the rest doesn't get thrown away.

I try to teach my kids about value and waste. I hate waste at home and we do our best to not throw good food away. When I was growing up I was always told to clear my plate because of all the starving children in Biafra. I grew up with parents who were used to very severe rationing in WWII. Food was a valuable commodity and was not to be wasted. A treat was a very occasional luxury and was valued highly. The lessons my parents taught me are still very present in my outlook on life.

I just think that this is the epitome of waste. I know that all this sort of stuff is overpriced and they charge what they think the market will pay. However, I am really concerned at this particular message. I hate wasting good food and if every time I buy a small drink I am throwing good food away, something inside me makes me want to rebel.

Posted by Davey
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 10, 2007 at 1:17 pm

Parent...There's an easy way to rebel: Don't patronize Jamba Juice. Your authoritarian "Something should prevent this type of marketing. It is unethical and also very wasteful." makes me think you might want to do something to prevent those of us who voluntarily choose to buy Jamba Juice, waste and all, from doing so.

To me THIS kind of thinking is unethical.

Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 10, 2007 at 1:24 pm

Parent has a point. It IS strange that Jamba Juice doesn't have its people make smaller portions for smaller orders. It IS wasteful and it could be stopped. One look at the schools trash in this country will give you and idea of the degrere to which our children are NOT taught NOT to waste perfectly good food, take no more than they can eat etc. No need to attack the person making the point or make accusations of trying to prevent others from patronizing the place or accuse the person of being unethical.

Parent, maybe you could write to corporate hq asking if they could consider making up half-size recipes for use in the smaller portions. It's a good idea and I'm sure most people (like me) have not noticed the waste (I usually buy one big one and have them split it into 2 cups for my 2 kids). I can't imagine corporate NOT wanting to save the money, if it weren't intersted for any other reason.

Posted by shopper
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 10, 2007 at 1:24 pm

I think you are doing the right thing by writing about it so other people can make more informed choices.
I only went to JJ once, the noise plus high prices were enough to discourage me from ever going back. Not to mention the calories.

Posted by Bob
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 10, 2007 at 2:40 pm

Well, JJ was recently bought-out at a high price, so I agree, corporate might be thrilled to save the nickels on ingredient costs. Maybe they can put the profits into noise reduction ;-)

Posted by Honestly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 10, 2007 at 2:44 pm

You try slapping thick slush out of a blender all day.

Posted by Pele
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 10, 2007 at 2:49 pm

There's really no way to say that JJ's practices are "wasteful" even if the facts set forth by Parent are accurate.

More goes into the cost of JJ smoothies, or any product, than the raw ingredients. JJ may have figured out that the cost of having its employees make individual measurements for each size of smoothie is greater than the cost of wasted ingredients. Either way, JJ will bear the costs of its decisions if it is wrong, and reap the benefits if it is right.

Parent has every right to refuse to patronize businesses with whose practices he/she disagrees, and to publicize these practices in attempt to convince others to emulate him/her. However, in our system, JJ has the right to conduct its business at it chooses as long as it bears the costs of its behavior. We should be free to choose who we do business with and whom we do not.

Maybe, as natasha suggests, JJ hasn't even thought about the amount of ingredients it discards through its current practices, but I doubt that it could stay in business if it doesn't analyze things like this on a routine basis.

Posted by Bob
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 10, 2007 at 3:04 pm

Honestly, that was a good one.

I think you may have a point though. The crack process engineers at JJ's might have figured out making a smaller quantity costs them the same amount, since the poor kid has to spend more time slapping the darn blender to get enough out, with customers waiting right there. So the complexity of multiple recipes sized just might not pay (esp since my sense is that there is a lot of turnover, so not a highly trained staff there).

FWIW, we have our kids makes smoothies at home - just as noisy, I'm afraid, but the price is right and dad drains it down to the last drop!

Posted by Kris
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 10, 2007 at 8:11 pm

If you want to write JJ corporate - offer them a suggestion on something with real impact: require all employees to wear/use ear plugs.

I would never allow my son/daughter or loved one to work there for fear of permanent hearing loss. My hairstylist wears/uses earing aids - too much time spent around noisy hair dryers. Hair dryers, blenders...all the same to me.

Posted by shopper
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 10, 2007 at 8:52 pm

Bob and Pele have no concept about anything beyond money. If it is cost effective for a corporation then it is ok. If the kids ears are injured, tough. As long as it is cost effective.
I am thinking about about the food waste and also the sense of wrongness that a decent human being feels when seeing such a strange procedure, throwing out a hand crafted supposedly healthy food. Also tells you how cheap and how little the ingredients are worth. High priced junk.

Posted by Bob
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 10, 2007 at 9:30 pm

Shopper, it's impressive you can tell so much about me and others just by our posts!

As I tell my kids, I don't make the news, I just report it. Maybe in other places it is different, but in our country, if it is LEGAL and cost effective, then it is ok that they try it. Heck, if it is LEGAL and NOT cost effective, it is ok. Hard to tell what consumers want to buy, so people are generally allowed try things out.

If we don't like the laws, we can change them (like SF banning plastic bags!). No fruit waste allowed! (That seems kookie to me, though the ear plugs make a lot of sense.) If we as individual don't like the product, or the way it is made, or even the politics of the owners, we can forego buying the product and encourage others to do the same. I encourage you to speak your mind and lead us.

But please don't go putting me and others down as thoughtless and immoral because we think entrepreneurs should be able to legally make what people legally want to buy. It makes me feel bad and makes you look stupider than you probably are.


Posted by Pele
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 10, 2007 at 10:04 pm

shopper, maybe JJ's practices say more about the cost of labor than they do about the cost of ingredients. You may not care about money, but I bet JJ's customers are pretty price-sensitive - which gives JJ every incentive to lower costs. If its current practices minimize the costs of its smoothies, they win and so do their customers.

Its hard to know what to say about your sense of wrongness, or about your inference that those of us who don't share it aren't decent human beings. One of the best things about America is that you don't have to patronize businesses that violate your sense of wrongness, or associate with human beings you denigrate as less than decent.

And the rest of us are free to avoid moralizing preachers of whatever denomination.

Posted by shopper
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 10, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Maybe I went too far in judging you and I apologize.
But your responses are so narrowly cast. If it's legal and cost effective, are those are the only judgments a consumer can make? Isn't there room for Parent's dismay at how they do business, and my agreeing with those sentiments?
Your argument that it is legal is irrelevant. Who is talking about legality? who is talking about arresting them? On the other hand, are market values the only thing you believe in?
Of course I'm not going there because of my experience, noise, jostling, ridiculously complex menus, and high prices. I found it unpleasant. Come to think of it, they could easily insulate those blender motors so the noise wouldn't be so bad. But that is not where this thread began.

Posted by Bob
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 10, 2007 at 10:41 pm

Shopper, I knew you couldn't be quite like it seemed, so thank you for posting more. Apology cheerfully accepted!

I don't find what Parent saw so offensive really. I could see how someone might, but one man's meat is another's poison. If we assume JJ does what they do to save money, should they really raise overall costs (any maybe waiting times, already a problem there) to save a little fruit on principle? I can live with it.

Do you use a clothes dryer? I was thinking about that as I emptied my washer just now. We have started putting most of our heavier clothes out on a drying rack, my tip o' the cap to combatting global warming (my wife took some convincing on this one!). But I don't get preachy or angry toward people or businesses that think drying racks are too inconvenient. They have their reasons.

So you skip JJ; I'll use a drying rack; Pele can give money to his favorite charity; and Parent can drive a Prius. And we can all do other things that make the others shake their heads in disbelief. I try hard not to be too judgmental (largely as the result of having been wrong so many times over the years!).

Posted by JF
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 11, 2007 at 12:15 pm

Could it be possible that this is the act of one "newbie" Jamba Juice employee? It is possible I have just not noticed the waste, but I feel like I have watched the Redwood Shores crew make my 16oz JJ several times and not have an abundance of smoothie to throw out.

Before we start slamming business practices on the acts of "one" maybe we should check again- or ask corporate before blasting a company for bad practice.

Just a suggestion.

Posted by Bob
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 11, 2007 at 2:02 pm

Good point, JF!

Posted by Danny
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 11, 2007 at 5:10 pm

Wow. You guys in Palo Alto really have a lot of time on your hands. Are the practices of some podunk smoothie stand really worth this much thought and effort?

Posted by Bob
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 11, 2007 at 7:49 pm

Yeah, next we'll tackle the bean standards at the taquerias ;-) You know Palo Alto, we live on the edge here.

Posted by Small is just their image
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 13, 2007 at 3:19 pm

Sorry, Danny, Jamba Juice is not "some podunk smoothie stand "
It is a corporation listed on the NASDAQ and its web site says this:
Today, Jamba Juice Company has more than 565 company and franchised stores in 22 states nationwide with 9,000 employees.
and this:
Jamba Juice (JMBA) Chief Executive Officer to Ring the NASDAQ Stock Market Closing Bell (July 6, 2007)

Posted by really
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 16, 2007 at 9:13 pm

I have also noticed the smoothie waste. This fact, combined with the use of polystyrene cups without proper recycling facilities available and of course the ridiculous price for a mediocre smoothie as caused me to choose to not patronize Jamba juice. I am glad that this author wrote this piece, hopefully the next time you go into a business you will pay attention to the externalities of your actions, whether its as small as half a peach wasted or of much larger importance. While flexing your consumer muscles may work, it is also important to let your concerns be heard as well.

Posted by an adoring fan of jamba juice
a resident of University South
on Jul 30, 2007 at 3:18 pm

I think you all need to cut the Cr... okay small big too much too little grow up! I say this because you probably would do the same thing if you worked their. I mean how i the world are they suposed to know what you want unless you believe in READING PEOPLES MINDS you FREAK........

a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2007 at 3:24 pm

Ohh girlll u are so right they do need to cut the whole ( I HATE JAMBA JUICE OUT ) <3 TANIESHA

a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2007 at 3:30 pm

wow danny you are my hero and i agree that it isn't worth all of this have you read the word written by an adoring fan of jamba juice

P.S this is SEXC LADY

Posted by Small is just their image
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 30, 2007 at 9:36 pm

The way they know what you want without reading your mind is that your ORDER what you want. No mind reading required.
And so much love for a stupid store. Adore a juice bar? are you losing your cool? Now I begin to wonder: is there something about loving Jamba Juice that makes people illiterate? So many misspellings, I'm getting REALLY worried.

Posted by Carlos Mercdao
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 5, 2009 at 12:02 pm

I don't know why that surprise you, USA is the most Capitalist country in the word, you are not important, money is more important than you, it is not about ethics is about money and by the way, "God bless America" like always they say


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