Jamba has been very busy this year. In addition to revamping their food menu to include delicious breakfast handhelds like the Impossible™ Handwich(opens in a new tab), they also recently launched an all new line of iced caffeinated beverages with a plant-based cloud whip foam topper made specially in house. Today Jessica Sours, Senior Brand Director of Jamba, and Sarah Marjoram, MS, RDN, LD, Nutrition Expert and Strategic Advisor of Jamba, are sharing the details behind these innovative launches, why plant-based plays a key role in their wellness strategy, and how they plan to help America put its pants on again as we all head back to work.
IF: Where did you get the idea for the Impossible™ Handwich?
Jessica Sours, Senior Brand Director: We wanted to provide craveable and convenient options for people who are out and about or on their way to work/school. We know that handheld items are really important to our guests, so we focused on creating something that fits neatly into their hand while packing a great flavor and bite.
We knew we wanted to feature plant-based options because our guests are looking for flavor first and foremost, but are also seeking sustainable food that is better for the environment and better for themselves. We researched the plant-based meat category and landed on Impossible™ Sausage Made From Plants because flavor is what wins the day.
Sarah Marjoram, Nutrition Expert and Strategic Advisor of Jamba: The driving factor for our wellness and innovation strategy is to always meet guests where they are. Many of our consumers are meat eaters who are looking to progress in their wellness journey, so texture was really important in the build. We also wanted to make sure the new handheld item would provide a good source of protein to round out lighter calorie beverages, like our newest Iced Bold ‘n Cold Brew Coffee™ and Iced Gotcha Matcha match.
IF: How did the team at Impossible Foods help you on your launch journey?
JS: They’ve been at our side through each step! We started by working together with the supplier to ensure the product spec was right for our build, which is a unique size. We’re also only one of two retailers that offer Impossible™ Sausage in a breakfast sandwich, so we worked closely with Impossible Foods on units, forecast and distribution. They also helped us with costing so that the Impossible Handwich is very close in price to our classic Sausage, Egg and Cheese Handwich, which makes it an easier purchase for guests who might be trying plant-based for the first time. It brings them in the door and makes them feel like they can experience that new item without having to justify the extra cost.
They also helped us with costing so that the Impossible Handwich is very close in price to our classic Sausage, Egg and Cheese Handwich, which makes it an easier purchase for guests who might be trying plant-based for the first time.
The Impossible Foods team was also instrumental in our marketing and menu strategy. We co-branded our menu with Impossible Foods, which we don’t do very often, and we love having their iconic flag on our menu. We shared guest insights, flavor profile and data on trial to make sure we were messaging the right benefits and hierarchy, which have had a huge impact on performance.
IF: What are guests saying about your new plant-based menu items?
Jessica: Our fans on social media are so excited we have these offerings in store and online, and we’ve seen many posts saying they’re loving it and that they want us to bring more plant-based options like this.
IF: What messaging resonates the most with your guests: flavor or sustainability?
JS: Flavor and crave are the most important messages for our guests, but we have more niche consumers and targeted channels where we talk about nutritional pairing with our newest products. We’re also expanding our plant-based options for guests so folks can come to us with their needs - whether that’s energy or protein, in the morning for a pick me up or during the afternoon slump. They can now walk out feeling like they have a great pairing across getting some caffeine as well as a great sized handwich protein option that tastes great.
IF: Is performance meeting expectations?
Jessica: We’re thrilled! We’ve got guests that are enjoying a brand new offering that they’ve never had before and the performance is higher than expected. Our plant-based new product trial is 30%, and the Impossible Handwich’s trial is ~40%, so guests are really loving this product and the build. And guests are enjoying the Impossible Handwich all day, making it more than just a breakfast item. That makes us really happy because it means our offerings are in line with our consumers’ lifestyle goals.
Our new product trial rate is 30%, and the Impossible Handwich’s trial is ~40%, so guests are really loving this product and the build. That makes us really happy because it means our offerings are in line with our consumers’ lifestyle goals.
IF: How is Impossible on the menu helping you achieve your sustainability goals?
JS: We’re starting our journey on sustainability with Impossible Foods and the impact calculator, (opens in a new tab)and love showing our customers that if we work together, we can actually bring down our footprint in water, land and carbon emissions. Guests are so thrilled with that! We’re very humble with where we are in that journey and are looking for more avenues to make an impact, but Impossible Foods has given us a good entry into sustainability and improving our footprint.
SM: Our goal was to add a plant-based protein that, when paired with the new Cold Brew and Matcha products, offered guests a calorically appropriate meal. The new beverage platform provides lower calorie options with the energy that our guests are looking for. Pairing them with the Impossible Handwich was a great way for us to combine menu items specifically to round out calories and add in the protein that we wanted to provide. We innovated with these food pairings in mind to bring “energy” and “fuel good food” concepts to life.
Source: Jamba's Instagram(opens in a new tab)
IF: What can we expect to see from Jamba in the future?
JS: We know one of the top needs when guests think about smoothies is boosting energy. Schools, sports and offices will be reopening nationwide this fall, and we want Jamba to be there to help our guests start their day with a bright and bold beginning. Our all new Iced Gotcha Matcha and Iced Bold ‘n Cold Brew are icy, refreshing, smooth sips that pair well with our Impossible Handwich for both energy and protein so our guests can feel great.
Schools and offices will be reopening nationwide this fall, and we want Jamba to be there to help our guests start their day with a bright & bold beginning. Our all new Iced Gotcha Matcha and Iced Bold ‘n Cold Brew are icy, refreshing, smooth sips that pair well with our Impossible Handwich for both energy and protein so they can feel great.
IF: Do you foresee new consumers coming in?
JS: We see this launch as an opportunity for new occasions with Jamba. We have been traditionally known for our smoothies, but this year we’ve worked to position our brand as a smoothie plus a bite, and now with our brand new iced beverages, there are even more options for guests. We want to fit a variety of guest lifestyles while providing better for you options, which is really what they’re looking for when they come into our stores.