On a Mission for Plant-Forward Living: A Q&A with Michelle Peterson of Pressed

By John Paquin

Twelve years ago, Pressed Juicery set out on a mission to pave the way for plant-forward living by making real, healthy food accessible to everyone. Pressed Juicery has now evolved to simply Pressed, expanding to a full array of plant-based foods to keep their customers nourished throughout the day.

Michelle Peterson, CMO at Pressed, is speaking at the 2022 ANA Brand Masters Conference about how their brand refresh came together in record time to create a new experience for its customers, and have a larger impact on society.

The ANA spoke with Peterson in advance of her presentation at the conference. You can read the interview below on the brand's omnichannel revamp.

Pressed (ne Pressed Juicery) is such a young brand at barely a dozen years old – why a "refresh" so soon, and so early in your lifecycle?

Over 10 years is a long time in the rapidly evolving plant-based food space. We knew that our loyal consumers thought of us as Pressed and came to us as a solution for their plant-based lifestyle, not just their juicing needs. The refresh allowed us to reflect the brand's uncomplicated approach to products and our mission to pave the way for plant-forward living by making real, healthy food accessible to everyone. Now in addition to our signature cold-pressed juices, we offer an array of wholesome plant-based foods to keep consumers nourished throughout the day.

As a retail company with over 100 stores, we also knew it would be challenging to change our brand name, signage, and store design the more we scaled. So, this was the perfect time for us to change all of our existing stores and to support our rapidly expanding footprint.

Was the storied short attention-span of millennials and gen Zers a factor in your decision to refresh the brand?

Not the short attention span, but certainly their loyalty and support of purpose driven brands. The refresh started with us re-grounding in the mission our founders had when Pressed started and remains the same today — we want to be a partner for good — good nutrition that fuels our consumers' and community's best, most vibrant lives. This purpose was our north star as we began the refresh and helped us unlock the changes we needed to make in the design, name, menu, products, and community support.

What differentiates the next tranche of Pressed's consumers from your early adopters? How has it affected your strategy, and the refresh?

Our early adopters were also early adopters of juicing, plant-based eating and being vegan or vegetarian. They knew the benefits to themselves and to the planet of a plant forward lifestyle, and they also knew the benefits of many ingredients that are more mainstream today like turmeric, pea protein, and mushrooms. They were very active in the L.A. health scene as well.

We keep those brand champions at the heart of what we do because they are still very much our loyal consumers, our VIP members and our LA advocates. However, as we've scaled to 9 additional states, we want the brand and experience to be more broadly appealing which means offering products that are both healthy and delicious. As an example, Citrus 2, Greens 2, and Vanilla Almond Milk are our most popular products and those are the ones that allow consumers to get both health and taste without sacrificing either one. During the refresh, our focus was to continue to make the brand accessible, vibrant, and speak to a broader set of consumers.

We're excited for new and existing fans to join us in-store to see all of these simplified and modern changes the brand is making while continuing to offer a plant-based haven that makes healthy living even more attainable

What about those early adopters? How do you secure their loyalty and expand your base without diluting your brand?

We did this in two ways. First, we stayed true to our original purpose and the reason our loyal consumers love the brand – to fuel their most vibrant lives. Second, we brought them along on the journey. We did extensive focus groups to understand how we could refresh the brand but keep their trust and our quality commitment. We ensured they were the first to know that we were making this change, but that the products, quality, and mission they loved wouldn't change. And we checked in with them often during the refresh to ensure the brand still was their go-to for their plant-based lifestyle.

What brands does Pressed take inspiration from?

Pressed is really a unique brand and business because we have 100 retail stores, so we are a strong foodservice operator delivering a brand, lifestyle, and experience for consumers through pick up, delivery, and in-store. We also have a thriving e-commerce business through which we ship nationwide to any consumer who doesn't live close to a store. We have experienced aggressive wholesale growth and are distributed 3,000 wholesale doors, including nationwide distribution at Sprouts.

Moreover, we have a convenient ghost kitchen model where we partner with local businesses to distribute our products. And lastly, we have different experiences for our consumers who want to develop a convenient wellness routine with Pressed, including subscription and loyalty programs. Given that, there are so many brands we take inspiration from in different areas of our business. We take inspiration from many of the best-in-class food service operators, like Chipotle, Starbucks, and Chick-fil-A, but we also take inspiration from smaller plant-based brands, wellness routine brands, and lifestyle brands.

What role did product innovation play in the decision? What new products/offerings supported the "refresh"? Why? Can you tell us what's upstream?

Consumer insight-based innovation played a considerable role in the brand refresh since we were establishing the brand beyond juice. We launched new meal replacement platforms like açaí bowls and protein-packed smoothies, to allow consumers to include Pressed in more dayparts of their routines. We also brought new and innovative flavors to our plant based soft serve to fulfill on the plant-based treat need state. We will continue to innovate in new plant-based need states and day parts — and are bringing new flavors and innovative collaborations to our beverages and soft serve. I'm really excited about the new plant-based nut milk blends that we are launching which are delicious, healthy, and leverage unique global flavors.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.