Smoothie Challenge: Jamba Juice vs McDonald’s

Jamba Juice “Berry Fulfilling” (A) vs. McDonald’s “Wild Berry” (B)

There’s been some tension between McDonald’s and Jamba Juice lately. These two seemingly unrelated franchises became entwined when the McCafé drink line at McDonald’s debuted two smoothie flavors last month. McDonald’s test foray into the frozen beverage market has clearly ruffled the feathers of Jamba Juice executives, who released a fake “Cheeseburger Chill”  smoothie in retaliation.

We couldn’t help but wonder: were the McCafé smoothies good enough to actually give Jamba Juice a run for their money? After all, Jamba Juice offers an extensive menu, but McDonald  has been doing a lot lately to expand and improve their drink menu. We conducted a blind taste test (think along the lines of the Coke-Pepsi Challenge) of the Jamba Juice favorites and their new McDonald’s counterparts in our office to investigate. An unbiased, nonparticipating intern poured the smoothies into cups and labeled them either A or B so we could blindly compare the two companies’ concoctions.

The McDonald’s smoothies

At McDonald’s, the McCafé Strawberry Banana Smoothie consists of strawberry banana fruit blend, low fat yogurt, and ice for a total of 210 calories. At Jamba Juice, the request for strawberry-banana is met with their classic Strawberries Wild. This beverage blends apple strawberry juice, nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt, frozen strawberries, frozen bananas, and ice. This smoothie amounts to 250 calories and 2.5 fruit servings.

Meanwhile, the small McCafé Wild Berry Smoothie also contains 210 calories in its 12 ounce cup. The McDonald’s mixed berry smoothie blends strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, low fat yogurt, and ice. The Jamba Juice counterpart, Berry Fulfilling, is made from mixed berry juice, lower calorie dairy base, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and ice. The 16 ounce small is 150 calories and equals 1.5 fruit servings.

The Jamba Juice Smoothies

With both of the McDonald’s smoothies, the fruit blend tasted almost too smooth and very sugary. However, at only $2.29 for a small (12 ounce) smoothie,  McDonald’s unbeatable price is extremely wallet-friendly. While a small Jamba Juice smoothie costs double that of McDonald’s, every single cent pays for the freshness of the fruit. Jamba Juice’s freshly blended drinks contained fruit chunks spread throughout. With it’s chunkier texture and fresher taste, Jamba Juice’s smoothies tasted better than the McDonald’s counterparts.

As a smoothie specialty shop, we weren’t surprised when Jamba Juice unanimously won the blind taste test for both smoothie flavors. However, with more than 31,000 locations worldwide, McDonald’s smoothies are the perfect option for someone looking for a cheap smoothie fix on the go! Neither beverage, with their fruity ingredients and low calorie totals, would be a bad pick for a breakfast drink or afternoon snack!


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