NEW YORK — A new brand of ready-to-drink smoothies aims to provide juice bar quality without the price tag. Co-founded by longtime friends Jeff Goodman and Sam Dickstein, Phyll is launching with a line of shelf stable beverages featuring three servings of produce, 15 grams of plant protein and no added sugar.
Mr. Goodman was raised on a farm with around-the-clock access to fresh produce. He struggled to maintain a healthy diet with enough fruits and vegetables after moving to New York to work at a growth equity firm. Mr. Dickstein, who also worked in private equity, always enjoyed making homemade smoothies. He discovered a lack of convenient ready-to-drink replacements when he began traveling frequently for his job.
The two teamed up and started tinkering in their kitchens, experimenting with different ingredients to create shelf stable smoothies in a grab-and-go format. Their first recipe, now called Greenfest, features kiwi, apple, mango, banana, kale, spinach and cucumber, plus pea protein for added nutrition.
“We tried to focus on common fruit and vegetable ingredients that consumers would recognize and potentially be using in smoothies of their own,” Mr. Goodman said. “The process to create Greenfest ended up taking over a year and a half. After multiple formulation partners and dozens of iterations, we finally got to a place that hit on the three key attributes while also tasting great.”
From there the pair expanded with two additional formulations, each featuring the same blend of kale, spinach, cucumber and pea protein. A mixed berry variety adds strawberry, blueberry and blackberry, while a chocolate variety adds cocoa powder, strawberry and banana.
The beverages are made using a clean-pressed process. After they’re blended, the smoothies are heated to a high temperature for just a few seconds to kill any potential microorganisms. They remain in a sterile environment as they’re bottled and packaged to ensure no other potential contaminants enter the system.
“The process is a new application of existing technologies,” Mr. Goodman said. “It’s similar to flash pasteurization, and it allows us to be shelf-stable without refrigeration. It also minimizes any impact on flavor and nutrients.”
High in protein with less than 300 calories per serving, Phyll’s smoothies are geared toward a wide swath of consumers, Mr. Dickstein said.
“There are several options on the market for fruit-based juices as well as for protein shakes, but we wanted to take the best aspects of both and combine them into one product, all while resembling a freshly made or juice bar experience,” he said. “The product can play into a lot of different use occasions and consumer types.”
The smoothies may serve as grab-and-go meal replacements or as post-workout shakes, he said. They also could serve as a supplement for someone looking to make sure they’re getting enough produce in their diet.
Phyll is launching direct-to-consumer, with a pack of six 11-oz bottles retailing for $29.99.“With DTC we can learn more about our customers and find out who they are, where they are and why they’re buying Phyll, but we ultimately view it as a retail-focused brand,” Mr. Dickstein said. “We think this will be a brick-and-mortar product, and we’d like to expand into retail distribution as quickly as possible.”