English pressed juice is nothing new. Records from the middle of the 19th century show that the nation was consuming juices from windfall and damaged fruit and abroad explorers were snacking on the cane of the grass sugar cane or drinking it as a pressed juice. It would seem they knew over 150 years ago that nutritionists today would recommend regular intake of fruit and vegetables.
Daily Dose, formed by uni friends George and Ben, produce cold-pressed juices by extracting the juice by crushing and pressing fruits and vegetables without adding heat, hence the term ‘cold press’. “It all started when we were going to the gym and seeing protein shakes and other drinks that just don’t really taste that nice. Often we would a bit of banana or peanut butter just to make them taste better.
In our gym there was a vending machine selling Coke and this is the complete opposite to what your body needs – it contains far too much sugar and artificial additives,” George explains.
“When we were in our final year at university our initial plan was to create a gym restaurant but first we went to the States to find out more about how popular juices were. This changed our plans and we came back and started to create our own juices. We saw how popular health and fitness was in places such as Los Angeles and there were juice bars on every block in New York. It’s on a completely different scale compared to the UK.”
“We refined our idea and believed a really good foundation for the long run is with cold-pressed juice. It is starting to take off in the UK in a similar way and we are hoping to capitalise on that,” adds Ben.
So what’s behind the rise in popularity in America? “The proven health benefits,” says Ben. “When you are juicing, it is hard to describe, but you do feel better. Particularly in LA there is also an element of a fashion statement when drinking a juice. The lifestyle over there includes holding a bottle as it shows that you are a person who knows about nutrition and its benefits.
“We love the fight against sugar at the moment, which is getting bigger here, but it is massive in the States. The drinks have low amounts of sugar but taste great, and provide important vitamins and nutrients. A regular juice from a supermarket is high in sugar and notoriously bad for adding e-numbers and flavourings.”
On their travels the young duo learnt that cold-pressed juice is best served in its most natural form with nothing added. It must also be consumed within four days or the levels of nutrients may start to drop. “There are some drinks companies who use HPP (High Pressure Processing), which does preserve the juice for longer but by extending the shelf life it does sacrifice some of the health benefits and the taste,” explains George.
“We believe that people are waking up to the idea that lots of current food trends are bad for you. If you look at the current government policies add and the NHS guidelines, both are pushing hard because the research is showing how bad some diets are for people,” says George. “In the central states of America the health scene was non-existent only a few years ago so the UK is bound to see a movement starting to happen.”
“London, Brighton, Manchester and Leamington Spa already have juice bars, so the trend is growing in the UK,” adds Ben. “We spent three months running taste tests and trying different variations and quantities – peeling some and not peeling others. We visited offices and provided variations of the same juice and recorded feedback. From this research we created eight different drinks, which include our juice cleansers for those on specific diets. Each juice has an individual health benefit and so by combining various bottles you receive different benefits,” they explain.
Following this Ben and George contacted local cafes close to where they are based and secured their drinks in four of these. “It was amazing to have so many say yes so early on but we only had one domestic piece of equipment for our drinks! We quickly ordered another machine and started working out the number of orders based on sales. This was all being done in a food trailer on my driveway. We couldn’t believe it when orders started coming in the hundreds. We had to buy a commercial juicing machine and have rented a commercial unit to deal with demand,” says Ben.
“We source our fruit from New Convent Garden market, which is only open during the night. When we started we would arrive at 1 o’clock in the morning, take 2-3 hours to source the fruit (ideally misshapen and ‘ugly’ fruit that would otherwise be wasted), return home around 4am and then be up again at 8am for a 15-hour juice session,” they explain. At the same time Daily Dose were sourcing glass bottles that contain the juices in the best environment. They also wanted a zero waste product so take back empty bottles from cafes to be sterilised and used again. The labelling is also printed directly on to the bottles so they cannot be scratched off too. They take any leftover pulp from the juicing and bake with seeds and nuts for healthy tasty fruit and vegetable balls.
“We have grown organically to reach this stage and want to continue this gradual process before we scale up to any great size,” explains Ben. “The biggest difficulty we are going to face as we grow and produce more is distribution because of the short shelf life. However, we are speaking to Reading University about their research into this area, which could be of benefit. Bottles have also been an issue due to a six-week delivery wait from our supplier.”
This growth may be linked to the hard work they complete on each site. They set up a stand and do promotion work over a weekend to ensure customers know they are selling their drinks there.
They hope to one day supply offices with their drinks to provide a good blast of energy for workforces. This also includes a ginger shot idea, which is full of powerful healthy benefits. Alongside this is the dream to have juice restaurants where they envisage customers coming to them every day for their ‘daily dose’.