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“Non-Dairy” at Jamba Juice Means Milk and Whey

Jamba Juice doesn’t provide ingredient lists for their in-house “non-dairy” mix because they say it might jeopardize their “trade secret,” a loophole in ingredient label law. But Consumerist’s Ben Popkin e-mailed the company for a list of the ingredients, which they (happily? begrudgingly?) provided: Water, Grade A Nonfat Dried Milk, Grade A Whey, Grade A Whey Protein Concentrate, Splenda, Sodium Alginate, Maltodextrin, Pectin, Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Natural Flavor, Annatto.

I can see why they wanted to keep that secret.

Jamba Juice claims they have two vegan smoothies and a vegan apple cinnamon pretzel, which all bear a “not certified vegan” disclaimer. At this rate that may very well mean non-vegan.

Update 4/9/07: Jamba Juice public relations claims that the company has never used any “non-dairy” base, but apparently hasn’t passed this info on to the customer service reps, who are still handing out the milky list of ingredients. For me, the most disturbing part of this story is that Jamba Juice was not revealing their product ingredients, and only agrees to now after the shitstorm of web coverage.

14 Comments

  1. Comment by

    Laura Leslie

    on #

    Um, yes, because in Jamba Juice’s Bizarro Universe, “non-dairy” = “totally made out of dairy products.”

    I used to get smoothies there all the time, with the staff’s reassurances that they contained “no dairy products.”

    I feel really sick now.

  2. Comment by

    Patrick Kwan

    on #

    I’ve actually come to expect “non-dairy” to mean that it “contains some dairy.” When I go to Jamba Juice, I just ask them to put soymilk and use sorbet instead of yogurt.

  3. Comment by

    vegand

    on #

    Work ‘em Patrick!

    What is it with these twisted word games and the veg*n stuff? ARGH!

  4. Comment by

    gfn

    on #

    umm, you’re aware they don’t know the difference between sorbet and sherbet made with milk….

  5. Comment by

    veganphilly

    on #

    GRRRR! okay well this sucks BUT it did give my boyfriend a great idea. SO since there aren’t any “certified vegan” products (correct me if I am wrong about that) we should all go around to our local markets with 100% vegan stickers and put them all over the meat! The damn meateaters won’t buy it of course because it’s yucky hippie food- and viola! The stocks for the meat companies plunge! hahaha, in a perfect world it would be a great plan.

  6. Comment by

    Olivia Lane

    on #

    This story makes me wanna vomit! I’ve had so many JJ smoothies thinking things were cool; I’ll have to learn how to trust again. Thanks for uncovering the truth, Susie!

  7. Comment by

    anipal

    on #

    I don’t do the Jamba thing, just never liked that hyper-corporate vibe of theirs; but I jumped on the band wagon like the excitably uninformed individual that I am and whined at them via their feedback form. Here is the highly confusing jumble of PR-spin I got back from them, I’m sure others have gotten this reply too. I’m not sure why I feel inclined to share mine, but here it is:

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us. It seems as though lots of information surrounding our dairy/non-dairy offerings at Jamba Juice have been whirled up in to one big blender, and the resulting smoothie is missing some key ingredients.

    Jamba Juice does not offer a “non-dairy mix.” This is not an offering at Jamba Juice and never has been. Jamba Juice does offer a lower calorie dairy base, which does contain milk, and clearly states so in the Nutritional Guide binder.

    The issue of Jamba’s Non-dairy “Dairy”, this is only referring to sorbet and soymilk, which are dairy-free, and no other products. We realize that this is confusing too and that’s why we are updating our Nutritional Guide binder which will now include a full listing of all the ingredients in each smoothie as well as each ingredient – to be in effect and in-store by fall 2007.

    We apologize for any confusion or worry that we may have caused and hope this clears it up. The health and well-being of our customers is the most important thing to us and so we always want to be as clear and transparent as possible about nutritional information.

    If you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  8. Comment by

    champurrado

    on #

    I’m not sure that this post was well-researched. I looked at Jamba Juice’s website the day after it was posted and NOWHERE does it claim to have a “non-dairy mix.” Maybe someone got this confused with their “Dairy Base” used in their light ‘Nirvana’ smoothies, which has, as long as I can remember, been advertised clearly as a Dairy Base. As for the claim that they do not publish the ingredients of their food, this is just false, since they are all plainly listed on the website. Yes, milk and whey are both listed under their ‘dairy base’–it is no trade secret. What was not clear to me from Jamba Juice’s website was which of their boosts are vegan, so I emailed the company and they emailed me back with this information:
    vegan boosts–Burner, Energy, Fiber, Immunity, and Protein.
    non-vegan boosts–Femme (milk calcium and vitamin D3), Performance (Glucosamine and Chondroitin), Vita (D3), and Vibrant C (honey).
    One last reminder–almost all of their smoothies can be veganized by substituting soymilk or juice for milk/yogurt and sorbet or extra fruit for sherbert.

  9. Comment by

    Patrick Kwan

    on #

    Basically, both Consumerist and customer service reps for Jamba Juice messed up. The “Non-Dairy ‘Dairy’” only refers to sorbet and soymilk, which are both vegan. Consumerist asked about a non-dairy base which does not exist. But, Jamba also has a low-calorie mix, which customer service reps of Jamba interpreted as what Consumerist was asking about. Again, Jamba does not offer a “non-dairy base.”

    Go and have your Jamba Juice made vegan and ask for them to be made with sorbet and soymilk whenever you see yogurt, milk, or the low calorie base.

  10. Comment by

    K.d.

    on #

    Okay people, I work at jamba juice and the product is called a “low calorie dairy base” not “non dairy base”.
    Also, we do offer dairy free products (see the “all fruit” section of the menu).
    :)

  11. Comment by

    JN

    on #

    Just to add, I work at Jamba too at the corporate office. We’ve never had a non dairy base so someone isn’t reading correctly. We have an all fruit line which is nothing but fruit and juice, and then our sorbet (not sherbet) is vegan as well. NONE of the bases are vegan, so go for soy milk, fruit, juices, and sorbet. There is talk that the sorbet is not vegan but that is inaccurate. The only ingredient in the sorbet that would be debatable are the mono and diglycerides which can often come from plant or animal source. However I have confirmation straight from our vendor that they are plant based. Hope this helps, there are multiple vegans at Jamba headquarters, we want to help!

  12. Comment by

    Nikki

    on #

    yup . . . sorry guys. People who work at Jamba are completely uninformed about their ingredients. I should know I work with these people on a daily basis. *sigh* I apologize I try to tell people what’s up with our menu to the best of my abilities but as much as I read the ingredients I still have no idea what’s EVERYTHING.

  13. Comment by

    Veganite

    on #

    Jamba Juice does not have a “non dairy” Smoothie base. Surf City Squeeze on the other hand, does have a “non dairy” smoothie base, HOWEVER, it contains Sodium Casseinate, which is dairy derived, thus not Vegan.

  14. Comment by

    JWROG

    on #

    I just wanted to add that alot of the confusion when this issue was first brought up in 2007 is that people were being given conflicting stories regarding dairy vs. non-dairy by Jamba employees themselves. That’s what I wanted to put in my 2 cents about, actually. I recently got some bizarre runaround on the ingredients in a blackberry bliss at the store, so I emailed Jamba. Both to complain a little bit about the experience, but mainly to ask for the ingredients. I didn’t get the “Thank you for taking the time to contact us” mentioned above. The first time, I got no response, even after a few weeks. The second time, I got a completely blank email with an unopenable blackberry bliss attachment. Not sure if was meant as a deliberate kiss-off for my mild (I swear) complaint or my complaint(less mild) about not getting a response the first time, but guess what? I’m kissed off. I’ve gone from a 4 to 5 times a week customer to zero and I spend my time at Berry Chill. Good work, Jamba customer service. I couldn’t resist mentioning becuase i see some Jamba employees in the conversation.

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