NEW ORLEANS, July 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Smoothie King, the 1973 originator of the nutritional fruit smoothie, is showing its pioneering spirit again by leading the way to making healthy alternatives and high-quality meal replacements available to consumers in Japan.
Consumers in Tokyo will be the first in Japan to enjoy the Smoothie King lineup of nutritious products, with the first store planned to open in 2010. Japan makes sense as the latest Smoothie King market, because there is an opportunity to fill in the market's gap for fruit smoothie options.
"Japan has historically been on par with the West for being a nation of early adopters of new products and cultural trends, and Japan already has a strong trend toward healthy diet and fitness," said Steve Kuhnau, Smoothie King's co-founder and CEO.
For its expansion into Japan, Smoothie King has partnered with Smoothies Asia Co. LTD, which is headed by Smoothie King's brand operator in Korea, Sung Wan Kim. Mr. Kim has been successful in developing 57 stores in the Republic of Korea, operating through his joint venture with Pacific Smoothies and Smoothies Korea.
"Smoothie King combines a cutting-edge concept with an extensive product offering that we believe will tap into the trend toward healthy living in Japan," said Kim. "We're looking forward to introducing Japan to the nutritious and great-tasting products of Smoothie King."
Smoothie King first opened internationally in Seoul, South Korea in 2003. "Personal fitness and healthy diet has been and remains very important to the people of South Korea, plus the market has the population volume we need to make it a good fit for the Smoothie King brand," said Kuhnau.
The company also recently announced its expansion into Egypt with 20 stores planned to open there in the next few years. Kuhnau stated, "Egypt consumers are just now starting to focus attention on health and fitness, and Smoothie King can help foster that trend and help consumers reach their fitness and health goals."
Signaling an International Trend
Consumption of healthier food and beverage choices is on the rise in the U.S., with the nutritional smoothie market expected to grow 10-13 percent over the next five years. But the trend is also an international phenomenon.
"There is a global trend toward healthy alternatives," said Cindy Kuhnau, Smoothie King's co-founder and senior executive vice president. "The trend is more pronounced in some markets over others, but there is a growing trend that has staying power and hits our product sweet spot of high-quality meal replacements."
That's why the vision for Smoothie King is to continue to expand into international markets, with the goal of reaching 10,000 stores worldwide. "We are prepared to move forward, but we are taking our time to locate the best markets for the brand, and to forge relationships with partners in whom we have great confidence," said Mrs. Kuhnau. "Our chief concern is in joining with partners who are willing to invest not only in our business, but in our philosophical system of making healthy alternatives a real option for all consumers."
Overall, Smoothie King opened 103 new stores last year and continues to expand with 34 stores opened since January 2009. Serving up a variety of healthy function-based smoothies, Smoothie King offers cutting-edge nutritional products and snacks in more than 600 locations across the globe.
About Smoothie King Franchises Inc.
Smoothie King is a privately held, New Orleans-area-based franchise company and the premier Smoothie Bar and Nutritional Lifestyle Center in the industry. Smoothie King offers guests the original nutritional fresh-blended smoothie and healthy retail products, including sports beverages, energy bars, healthy snacks, vitamin supplements, herbs, minerals and other sports nutrition products. Smoothie King opened its first store in 1973 and started as the first franchised smoothie bar/health food store in the United States in 1989, and currently has more than 600 units operating in 32 states and the Republic of Korea.
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