Ten years ago I became a mother, and during that first year, fruit juice was considered an acceptable part of my toddler’s diet, in a reasonable amount.
But over the past decade, juice has been demonised and parents are sternly informed that it is similar to soda – bad for health, weight and teeth.
As a jittery new parent of one, then two, then three kids, I followed every new recommendation when it came to children and food, even the ones that contradicted each other. I was a mess. I thought the problem was me. What I didn’t realise was that it wasn’t juice that was the problem. It was the kind of juice that was the problem.
This week I sat down with James Ajaka, now CEO of nudie juice, who was in fact nudie juice’s first employee. We quickly bonded over our shared confusion over what to feed our kids. James recently got into trouble from his wife for taking his daughter to a fast food outlet… let’s just say he won’t be doing it again anytime soon.
James and I aren’t the only ones confused about what to give our children to eat and drink. And this shared concern is what led to the beginning of nudie juice more than 11 years ago.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this is a Brand Voices post brought to you by nudie. All opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.
James says, “The whole idea was based on the fact that in America and in the UK and several parts around the world, you could buy fruit juice made with nothing but fruit, completely unadulterated and also exotic blends of fruit. Australia at the time (just over a decade ago) was dominated by juice made with preservatives, concentrate, flavour, colours, added sugar and relatively plain offerings.”
So apparently we were all sucking down “fruit concentrate,” which is a preservative-laden extract from fruit that tastes okay when you add sugar and water to it and looks okay when you add colouring to it. But that wasn’t good enough for the nudie team. In fact, it wasn’t good enough for any of us.
So the nudie team went to the market, bought some fruit, took it home, chopped it all up and blended it in the blender. And that was the moment nudie juice was born, 11-and-a-half years ago.
From that kitchen to becoming a major national brand in just over a decade, nudie juice is now the first juice choice for millions of Australians.
I remember seeing the first chilled bottles on the shelf. nudie juice tasted delicious and I felt virtuous drinking it. They quickly spread across Australia. The message that they were the only fruit juice on the market that came from 100% fruit, with no additives and were mostly Australian-sourced, got through quickly. Parents began to give them to their children and started trying desperately to fit them in their children’s lunchboxes.
At the same time that parents were wrapping nudie juice bottles in tea towels and ice and shoving them next to Vegemite sandwiches, the team at nudie HQ were quietly taking a look at the Australian kids’ juice market.
“We were just staggered by the fact that in the last 12 months 245 million units of kids’ lunchbox products had been sold, labelled as ‘juice’ and not one of them contained real fruit that wasn’t from concentrate. And not one of them contained Australian fruit,” James explains. “So we thought this is a real opportunity for us to create something good, something remarkable that parents would be proud to put in their kids’ lunchboxes and that kids would love too.”