Pressed for success: detox the juicy way

Celebrities drove the craze for the detox, creating a thriving market for fruit and veg in a bottle. Welcome to the world of the 'juice-preneur'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 1:11am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 10:54am

In just three years, the cold-pressed juice scene has taken off, going from zero to at least nine companies on the market.

In the past, customers would have to plan ahead and pre-order their juice cleanse, usually at least 48 hours in advance. But this wholesome trend has now gone mainstream, and several companies have opened physical stores so you can grab your juice and go. That's great news for those who need a quick detox after a debauched weekend, as well as those who don't want to necessarily fast on juices, but are looking to meet their daily portion of greens.

There are a few things you should keep in mind when picking a bottle off the shelf. With a full cleanse programme, the companies would do their homework to plan out a well-rounded menu. Now, the onus is on you to make sure it's right for your diet.

As Green Queen founder Sonalie Figueiras points out, "Are you drinking that with everything that you already take in? If so, you need to redo the nutritional math.

"It's important to choose juices that are lower on the insulin impact scale — you want stuff that has more leafy greens. A lot of what people think of as veggies are actually biologically fruit, like peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant, and those have a lot more sugar," Figueiras says.

The bottom line is that, although we love our fruit-packed juices, make sure to balance them out with true vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli.

Below are the companies that allow you to enjoy cold-pressed juice without committing to an entire cleansing regime.


Pressed Juices

This Australian company launched a year ago, and has already expanded to 15 locations across Melbourne and Sydney. In June, it opened its first overseas outpost in Central, with two shops — in Quarry Bay and Wan Chai — in the pipeline.

It has the widest range of juices, with at least 30 flavours on offer at any one time, but its produce is not organic. Still, many of the ingredients come from New Zealand and Australia, which means that they are generally better quality than those you can find locally. The company works out of two kitchens: one in Hong Kong and the other in Australia. Australian juices are blended and put on a plane just before midnight for delivery by 9.45am the next day.

Co-founder Leo Pegoli says the company is involved in every step of the sourcing process, and emphasises that they give their customers a chance to interact with qualified nutritionists. "We meet the farmers and audit their practices, and make sure our nutritionists are satisfied. Each store is managed by a nutritionist, because the customers have in-depth nutritional questions," Pegoli says.

Pick: Tropical Bliss 2 (HK$70/470ml).In-house nutritionist Shirley Lau says, "This has watermelon, cantaloupe, lime, mint and maqui. Maqui berry, a South American superfood, is very high in antioxidants. It's very hydrating and great for tropical climates like Hong Kong. This blend is exclusive to Hong Kong. People kept asking us for something with watermelon in it."

81A Hollywood Road, Central. Open: 8am-7.30pm


Genie Juicery

Hong Kong's juicing scene owes much to Genie Juicery founders Cara G. McIlroy and Melanie Kate White, who introduced detox cleanses to Hong Kong back in 2011. They were the first to have a retail store presence, with an outlet in Sheung Wan, which was quickly outgrown. For a time they worked on a delivery basis, but they're back with a shop in the IFC Mall.

Genie stocks 26 drinks, including juices, smoothies, nut milks, raw vegan protein shakes and even cold-brewed coffees which are dairy free, and have 70 per cent less acidity. The coffees are great for those who are having a hard time kicking the caffeine habit.

The two health mavens keep an eye on the latest health trends by travelling to New York and Los Angeles for research, and are planning a second location.

Picks: The Warrior (HK$72/350ml). White says, "The Warrior is a protein shake, so it's really good to have after training to replenish your proteins. It has cold brewed coffee as an ingredient, so it helps as a pick-you-up. It's made with nut milk which is a healthy alternative to dairy and is made with almonds, dates, raw vegan protein powder, dates, and pink Himalayan salt."

Vitamin Sea (HK$68/350ml). McIlroy says, "Vitamin Sea is a really great breakfast smoothie because it has oranges and bananas which give you the energy to get through the day. Also because it's a smoothie it's a little more substantial than a juice. It has chia seeds, which are really high in protein and help you feel full; you're getting your vegetables through the spinach and spirulina."

Shop 2096B, Level 2 IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, tel: 2644 5875, Open: 7am-8pm


Nood Food

Part of the Pure Group, it is not just a juice company. It provides an array of ultra healthy options, including juices, hot food, smoothies, salads, sandwiches and snacks such as kale chips and raw chocolate.

Nood stocks 15 blends of juice. Although the main base is in the Kinwick Centre in Central, Pure's many fitness and yoga locations carry the line, too. There are four full juice bars around town which can blend a smoothie or a shake, and six other locations have grab-and-go fridges. The blends come twice a day from the Chai Wan kitchen. Much of the produce is imported due to the lack of organic ingredients in Hong Kong, but the company has invested in a hydroponic system to grow its own wheatgrass in the New Territories.

Pick: Green Dream, (HK$72/450ml or HK$48/300ml). Nood Food chef Moises Mehl says, "All organic, this contains celery, spinach, cucumber and kale. It has the highest amount of green vegetables and the least sugar. It's alkalising so it reduces inflammation. The kale provides lots of fibre which is great for vegetarians and lemon provides vitamin C, which helps with the absorption of iron."

2/F Kinwick Centre, 32 Hollywood Road, Central (juices available at all Pure Fitness and Yoga locations), tel: 8199 8189. Open: Monday to Saturday 7am-11pm, Sunday and public holidays 8am-10pm


Mr Green Juice

Launched in June by two Lane Crawford veterans, Anne Chatain and Laurie Miass, the company gets the vast majority of its produce from New Territories farms via Homegrown Foods. Out-of-season produce is sourced from abroad.

Although it works on a delivery basis, the 13 juices and milks can be ordered individually (the minimum order is three juices), and are not restricted to full cleanse programmes. The products are pressed in the afternoon and delivered the next morning before 11am, depending on location. Mr Green Juice gets major points for its earth-friendly approach: it uses glass masonjars, as opposed to plastic bottles, and offers customers incentives to recycle.

"People can drop off their glass bottles, or we can collect them if they reorder. If they do a cleanse, and return the bag with six empty jars inside, they receive a HK$50 voucher," says Miass.

Picks: Daily Greens (HK$88/450ml). Chatain says, "Our most popular juice is a delicious mix of apple, cucumber, kale, ginger, lemon, romaine, and mint. It's the perfect fix for beginners; a great way to start the green habit. Daily Beauty (HK$88/450ml). Miass says, "Daily Beauty is made from apple, beetroot, ginger, pear, and carrot. It contains vitamin A, C, and K, and antioxidants which help prevent early signs of ageing and wrinkles."


How organic is your juice?

Although the listed companies often use organic supplements such as superfood powders, they are not all fully organic. Genie Juicery uses conventional produce, Pressed Juices uses mainly non-organic produce from Australia and New Zealand, Nood Food is 82 per cent organic. Only Mr Green Juice is fully organic.