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Smoothie King's CMO, Rebecca Miller, on the chain's new vegan drink options and the great organic pumpkin shortage of 2020.

Video: Smoothie King chief marketing officer Rebecca Miller discusses the challenges of consumers’ demand for cleaner labels

The chain’s Clean Blends Initiative and ‘No-No List’ respond to increasingly health-conscious consumers

Getting consistent types of fruits and vegetables to 1,000 restaurants across the country is never easy, but add to that a global pandemic and an initiative to have fewer artificial ingredients in your food and you have the challenges faced by Smoothie King.

The chain based in Dallas has an explicit health-based purpose, according to chief marketing officer Rebecca Miller.

“Our mission is to inspire people to live a healthy and active lifestyle,” she said. In recent years that has meant launching its “Clean Blends Initiative” as well as an ever-growing “no-no list” of ingredients that are not allowed in the chain’s smoothies. Just in September, several items were added to that list: Carrageenan, propylene glycol, soy and soy derivatives.

Meanwhile, there has been a run on pumpkin this season. Pumpkin is always in demand at this time of year, but consumers’ cravings for this ubiquitous yet somehow still trendy squash have boomed this year, and Miller said that was especially the case for organic pumpkin, which is what Smoothie King sells.

“Because of the pandemic, people are more aware than ever of what they’re putting into their bodies. They want to be healthy, they want to stay healthy,” she said. And so some Smoothie King locations sold twice as much pumpkin as they normally do at this time of year, draining their supply.

In this video, Miller discusses these issues as well as the demand for more vegan smoothies.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

Correction: November 11, 2020
An error in the location of Smoothie King's headquarters has been corrected.
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