Jamba is down 40% from its 52-week high. This comes after the company fell nearly 7% in a day earlier last month when it disappointed investors with meager 0.3% growth in same-store sales for the first quarter. However, the news was not all bad, where same-store sales should grow by 2% to 4% for full-year 2014. The long-term growth story for Jamba lies in the fact that it can accelerate store growth and revamp its current stores.

The great juice race
Jamba has just around 850 locations--slightly more than 500 of those are franchised stores, with the rest being company-owned. With the demand for juices picking up, Jamba announced that it would be revamping its stores, with the goal of having 500 switched over to the new format by June. That is a full six months ahead of schedule, and it wants to have all 800 stores in the U.S. revamped by 2015. The new format highlights the fresh fruit that Jamba uses in its products.

Jamba is hoping to get out in front of Starbucks in the rollout of juices. Starbucks remains one of the most recognized names in coffee, but with a couple key acquisitions it has become a powerhouse in the beverage industry. Its market cap is $50 billion, compared to Jamba's mere $200 million market cap.


Starbucks has a strong presence in the juice market after buying up Evolution Fresh Juice in 2011. It has already deployed Evolution in some 8,000 stores while also making it available in various supermarkets. Both Starbucks and Jamba appeal to U.S. consumers who are looking for a menu with fresh and nutritious food. One of the benefits to Jamba's products is that they can serve as meal replacements.

Innovation is key
Jamba is also looking to compete with the likes of other healthy restaurants by expanding its menu. Last year, it launched Artisan flatbreads and Wellness Bowls. The Wellness Bowls are a spin on the company's yogurt and fruit parfaits. Jamba is also rolling out Jamba Smoothie Stations. This allows Jamba to get its brand into smaller spaces by offering only select flavors. These are going over well at colleges, airports, and grocery stores. Jamba is still early in this rollout, with only 36 stations as of year-end 2013.

However, Starbucks has been expanding its own offering into healthy snacks and foods. It has expanded its Evolution brand into snacks. Evolution Harvest is Starbucks' premium snacks offering. It also calls Danone a partner, where the two will create Evolution Fresh-branded Parfait Greek yogurt products.

The other beauty of Starbucks is that it is at the forefront when it comes to digital and card loyalty. About 11% of all transactions in U.S. stores are via smartphones. It has already amassed a 7 million active-rewards-member base in the U.S.

Why Starbucks cannot focus on juice too much
Meanwhile, Starbucks still has to keep one eye on Dunkin' Brands . Dunkin' is looking to grow via expansion, and that could mean eating into some of Starbucks' market share. Nearly all of its locations are franchised stores. This allows the company to expand quickly with lower capital. The company plans to grow its Dunkin' Donuts stores in the U.S. to 15,000 over the next 20 years. Dunkin' is unique in that investors do not just get to own the coffee brand but also the ice cream shop, Baskin-Robbins. Dunkin' has around 7,100 Baskin-Robbins and 10,800 Dunkin' Donuts stores.

How shares stack up
Jamba trades at a P/E ratio of 15 based on next year's earnings estimates. By coupling that with Wall Street's expected earnings growth rate over the next five years, its P/E-to-growth (PEG) ratio is right at 1. Jamba also has no debt, and cash on the balance sheet covers about 18% of its market cap.

Both Starbucks and Dunkin' have seen pullbacks from recent highs, with both down nearly 15% from their 52-week highs. However, each is a bit more expensive than Jamba from a valuation standpoint . Starbucks has a PEG ratio of 1.3, and Dunkin's is 1.4. It is worth noting that Jamba does not pay a dividend, but Starbucks and Dunkin do, coming in at 1.3% and 2%, respectively.

Bottom line
The coffee business is very big. The juice business is still in the infant stages, but with the rise of health-conscious consumers, this could be the next great growth area for the beverage industry. For investors looking to play the fast-growing shift toward healthy living, Jamba is worth a closer look.

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The article Investors Should Be Jumping for Juice originally appeared on Fool.com.

Marshall Hargrave has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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